France’s strict defense of Muhammad’s cartoons

NICE, France – When satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Republished The imprisonment of Prophet Muhammad in early September, triggered a series of incidents involving Two stab, Protests in Muslim nations, boycott of French goods and criticism from allies. Tension after another Young Islamic Extremists One teacher and another near Paris this month Strangled two people And this week vandalized inside a church in the southern city of Nice.

But French officials have not only defended the right to republish cartoons, some have gone further – including regional leaders Announced A booklet containing those pictures will be handed over to high school students as a commitment “to protect the values ​​of the Republic”.

In France’s tortuous 14-year history of cartoons, the reaction to images there has undergone profound changes. Once condemned by the head of state for inciting and insulting Muslims and later held at a cautious distance by other officials, the same images are today embraced in the political establishment as a whole – often of freedom of expression Are familiar with France’s commitment.

The Karsevaks have put France in a dangerous stalemate, widening their divisions with Muslim countries and leaving many French Muslims feeling isolated. For Muslims outside France, and some inside, cartoons are simply provocative and insulting to their faith. One image shows Prophet Muhammad carrying a bomb in his turban.

The defense of France’s images also set it apart from the United States and other Western democracies, which are increasingly confronted with diverse societies, becoming more cautious about speech, which may be considered offensive, Especially racial, ethnic, religious or other minorities. Many French regard those attitudes as American political correctness that are a threat to French culture.

On Friday, a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant killed three people at the main basilica in Nice. Police announced that they arrested another suspect. About 50 people gathered in front of the church to pay tribute to the dead. What began as a moment of solidarity was interrupted by a couple of local residents who blamed Islam for the attack – for the audience’s opposition. The woman with a veil called upon the people not to confuse Muslims with terrorists.

The mayor of Nice said the constitution should be amended so that France could “wage war” against Islamist extremists. France’s hard-line interior minister, Gerald Dermainin, voiced the declaration, “We are at war, against an enemy who is both inside and out.”

The martial language reflects the overall hardening of the French view of radical Islam. The fierce defense of the caricature has put the French in a position with little room for maneuvers, where any agreement can be seen as a cardinal value – France’s strict secularism, called loset.

Pierre-Henri Tavilot, a philosopher and expert at the Sorbonne University, said that the conflict over Caricature has taken France as “a trap”.

“In fact, they have become symbols and it turns the situation into conflict,” he said. “But it is a paradox that in my opinion it is unavoidable: if the French Lacita leaves at this point, it will have to give up all others.”

He said, “If we leave the caricature to a French person, we are sacrificing freedom of expression, there is a possibility of criticizing religions.”

In 2015, the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the murder of a dozen people – including cartoonists and columnists – included “Jae Suis Charlie,” or “I’m Charlie.”

Representatives of Muslim countries such as Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Qatar joined that march against terrorism and for freedom to speak. But all these countries criticized the reintegration of Cariches, arguing that it had offended Muslims in recent times.

Charlie Hebdo Editor Republished The same cartoon to mark the beginning of a long-awaited trial of alleged allies in the 2015 attack, stating that they were confirming France’s democracy.

The Republic was quickly followed by a high profile speech President Emanuel Macron expanded his plans to combat the religion of Islam, and the government called for it to be widely disbanded as Islamic individuals and organizations – steps that contribute to a change in perspective abroad.

“Publication and republic are not the same thing,” said Anne Giudicelli, a French expert in the Arab world who has worked for the French Foreign Ministry. “The republican by Charlie Hebdo is seen as a strong-willed will to continue degrading. It is different from 2015. It is now prudent that France has a problem with Islam, whereas in 2015, France was a victim of terrorists. “

A Pakistani refugee angry with the republic stabbed two people outside the magazine’s former offices, and a Chechen refugee deported a middle school teacher, who was shown in class two Muhammad imprisonment, in which one told him Shown naked all around.

The freedom to speak – or the liberty to say blasphemous things about religion – is considered a principle of French democracy, which was established by abolishing the power of the monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church, and it was consistently the subject of France’s secularism, or laïcité A pillar is formed.

Implied in a law established in 1905 – when France lacked a significant Muslim community – French secularism separated church and state – and was based on the idea that faith is a private matter and therefore should be limited to the private sector , Said Mr. Taviloyot, philosopher.

Jean Buberot, a prominent historian of French secularism, said the idea was to give preference to the state. “Modern France believes it set itself against religion,” he said.

The strict secularism of France is also indirectly strengthened by the increasing secularism of French society. As of 2016, today only 8 percent of French people practice their faith regularly. Report good By the Paris-based Institute Monteneau.

But how the laughter has been lived and implemented in reaction to the increasing number of Muslims in France, Mr. Buberot said. Today about 10 percent of France’s population is Muslim, and they are much more religious than their Christian or Jewish counterparts. The report found that 31 percent of Muslims visit the mosque or prayer hall once a week.

French secularism is right to criticize all religions – though not believers. The line is often difficult to draw, and many Muslims have personally left feeling disrespected with the publication of Mohammed’s caricature.

The complaints of the cases are that France imposes restrictions on certain freedoms of expression – for example banning, attacks on people for their religion or skin color, and forbidding the Holocaust.

The teacher who was murdered used two caricatures of Muhammad from the pages of Charlie Hebdo in a class on freedom of expression, which angered many Muslim students and parents. The government considered his assassination an attack on the state because public school students played a key role in teaching about secularism.

A few days after the assassination, the leaders of 13 regions of France announced that they would publish a booklet for high school students featuring Muhammad Kalin.

“The art of caricature is an age-old tradition that is part of our democracy,” said Iannis Roder, a middle school history teacher and a member of the Wise Council, created by the government in 2018 to strengthen laïcité in public schools is.

He said that he faced increasing difficulties in teaching freedom of expression and the right to caricature because “a lot of students entered religiosity, calling themselves Muslim.”

But the President of the French Council of Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, said that aggressive satire should be the limit when it comes to religious beliefs. He said that limiting the publication of Muhammad’s cartoons promotes extremism.

“I don’t think this is the right way to explain freedom of expression to children,” Mr. Musaoui said of Caricature in an interview France Information. “The duty of brotherhood imposes upon all to relinquish certain rights.”

In a while Statement, Mr. Musaoui stated that his suggestion to “relinquish certain rights” was clumsy. He said: “If freedom of expression empowers satire or humor, then we can understand that cartoons impose a prophet who is fundamental to millions of believers in thoughtful and abusive postures cannot fall within this right.”

Cariches have acquired a powerful symbolic significance since the 2015 attacks, so it has become politically difficult to raise questions about them.

Clementine Auten, the non-leftist legislator of the party France, said the debate over terrorism and secularism “dominates sentiment and is no longer rational.”

He said that some politicians are using latex as ‘insulting Muslims’. “My concern is that by doing this, many Muslims are being sent back into the arms of the fundamentalist.”

Antonella Francini contributed research from Paris.

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