Religion

Critics Slam France's Charlie Hebdo

| by Nik Bonopartis
A cartoon satirizing the media's response to terror attacks.A cartoon satirizing the media's response to terror attacks.

France's Charlie Hebdo magazine survived the 2015 attack that left 11 people dead at the hands of extremist Muslims. It survived a 2011 fire-bombing which destroyed its office, an act of retribution against the magazine's earlier cover image of a cartoon Prophet Mohammad.

Now Charlie Hebdo finds itself under attack by other media organizations and journalists, who condemned a March 30 piece in the magazine titled "How did we end up here?"

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The editorial, which was printed in French and English, argued that while extremist Muslims launch terror attacks, moderate Muslims are leading a push to destroy secularism in Western society.

Pointing toward the muted response to the March 22 Brussels bombings, which killed 32 people and injured more than 300, the editorial said it has become politically incorrect to criticize Islam and its impact on European countries.

The writers used an example of a Muslim scholar, whose role is to "dissuade people from [criticizing] his religion in any way," or a baker who refuses to use bacon or ham in his croissants, as examples of the small steps that build a "dread of being treated as an Islamophobe or being called racist."

The piece resulted in immediate condemnation from some circles. Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole compared Charlie Hebdo's staff to Nazi propagandists, saying it's “hard not to recall the vicious development of 'the Jewish question' in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in."

Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute, blasted the editorial as "remarkably bigoted" and "lazy, vacuous and unselfconsciously absurd," according to the Daily Mail.

In the Washington Post, writer James McAuley said Charlie Hebdo's piece was "the most recent expression of a collective paranoia that has gained significant traction in recent years."

And in Christian Today, editor Mark Woods accused Charlie Hebdo of exaggerating when the magazine said criticism of Islam has been stifled due to political correctness. According to Woods, "people are just being more polite."

Charlie Hebdo's staff did not respond to requests for comment, according to the Daily Mail.

Sources: Christian Today, Washington Post, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Cartoonist Mala Imogen via Blogspot