Satirical French publication Charlie Hebdo is coming under fire for anEnglish-language editorial that seems to at least partly blame practicing, and peaceful, Muslims for terrorist attacks. A little more than a week after 35 people were killed in Brussels, the newspaper wonders, “How did we end up here?”* The newspaper that suffered a terrorist attack of its own last year says that “the attacks are merely the visible part of a very large iceberg indeed. They are the last phase of a process of cowing and silencing long in motion and on the widest possible scale.”
To make its point, Charlie Hebdo uses three examples: Tariq Ramadan, an Islamic scholar; a nameless woman in a burqa; and a baker who is a Muslim. Ramadan, who, incidentally condemned the attack againstCharlie, has devoted his life to defending Islam. “His task, under cover of debate, is to dissuade people criticizing his religion in any way,” notes the editorial. He effectively makes “little dent[s]” in secularism by imposing “a fear of criticising lest they appear Islamophobic.” The editorial then goes on to sarcastically dismiss concerns that a woman wearing a burqa may be hiding a bomb. And finally there is the baker who stops selling ham, and everyone simply shrugs and accepts it because “there are plenty of other options on offer.”
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