Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free Speech Or Incitement?

French Magazine Runs Cartoons Of Mohammed

After a week of deadly international protests against an anti-Islam film, a French satirical magazine is pouring oil on the fiery debate between freedom of expression and offensive provocation.

The magazine Charlie Hebdo, which is known for outrageous humor, published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday.

The issue hit the stands eight days after a video mocking the Muslim prophet triggered angry protests, including one that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault expressed his support for the freedom of press, but he said there are limits.

"We have a free press that can express itself right up to the point of caricature," Ayrault said Tuesday. "But there is also a question of responsibility."

The cartoons are provoking outrage among the French Muslim community, while other Muslims have accused the magazine of pandering for attention.

Wednesday's cartoons were published a day after hundreds of Muslims took to Twitter to satirize the U.S. magazine Newsweek's cover story on "Muslim Rage" in which the Somali-born writer and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali said the recent protests represented mainstream Muslim opinion worldwide.

Muslims shot back with tongue-in-cheek tweets about what really enrages them, such as having a really good hair day but no one notices because they're wearing hijabs.

Hend Amry, who posted that tweet as @LibyaLiberty, said Charlie Hebdo's latest cartoons were a cynical attempt to inflate sales. She disputed the magazine's position that it just wants to provoke laughter and express its right to free speech.

"No it isn't. It's for ratings," she said.

"If we're going to chart it on the Muslim insult-o-meter, it is less inflammatory than the 'film' but does continue the East/West divide we see," she told CNN.

Tweeting as @oh_my_golly, she said: "Refuse to be a pawn in a game where people deliberately insult beliefs&wish to incite hate/anger/violence citing 'free speech'"

Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Grand Mosque in Paris, condemned the cartoons "in the strongest possible terms" and expressed surprise that the magazine was running new Mohammed cartoons after its offices were attacked the last time it did so.

"To repeat the same stupidity, the same idiocy and the same calumnies, the same ignominy seems to us to be nearly psychotic action," he said.

Via: "CNN"

No comments: