The attack on Charlie Hebdo has been (almost) universally condemned. Given the savagery and insanity of the attack that’s not surprising, but I waited with bated breath to see what would happen next. In particular, I wanted to see the reaction of journalism media – particularly the Canadian English journalism media, such as it is. I expected to be disappointed, and I was. Continue reading
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Being offended is your right, but not caring if you are, is mine. We need to stand up against those who would use bullying or violence to silence those who say offensive things.
The consequences of unpopular opinion, are and should remain limited to, rational criticism.
The heads of two Canadian organizations promoting secularism will ask the Department of Justice to abolish a section of the criminal code that makes blasphemy illegal, following Tuesday’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo.
Section 296 of the Criminal Code makes “blasphemous libel” punishable by up to two years in jail in Canada.
Even in Canada today, it is relevant. It is not just muslims, extremists come in all shapes and sizes, religious, political, ideological. Getting rid of this law might be mostly symbolic, but it is long past time we did this.
You most likely have heard of the terrible massacre in Paris today at the head quarters of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. The image, Je Suis Charlie is being tweeted along with the hashtag #jesuischarlie to show support for the paper.
First, the facts about the attack as they are currently known. Witnesses report that two black-hooded men, armed with Kalashnikovs entered the building and gunned down 20 people (some critically), killing 12 of them (these numbers could change as more about the incident becomes clear). According to police and reported by the Globe & Mail, the men shouted,“We have killed Charlie Hebdo. We have avenged the Prophet Mohammed.” Also according to the Globe & Mail:
A short amateur video broadcast by French television stations shows two hooded men outside the building. One of them sees a wounded policeman lying on the ground and strides over to him to shoot him dead at point-blank range. The two then walk over to a black saloon car and drive off.
The men later switched from their get-away-car to a stolen vehicle and fled into the suburbs of east Paris where they remain at large. The French broadcaster, iTele is showing live footage as the story unfolds.
You can guess, by the reported triumphal shouts of the murderers, what prompted this vicious killing – Charlie Hebdo is a left wing newspaper that enjoys mocking anyone it wants; no one is safe from its satire including religious figures, politicians and even jihadists and the Prophet Mohammed – it published cartoons of Mohammed in the past which resulted in a lawsuit (which the newspaper won) and the firebombing of their building. Still, the paper continued and in its steadfast irreverence stood up for what France and other democracies hold dear – freedom of speech and freedom of expression. And that is why it was attacked today. The newspaper’s current cover introduces a novel titled, Submission which imagines France if it were run by an Islamic party (see below). The cartoon is of the book’s author making predictions for the future by saying, “In 2015, I lose my teeth. In 2022, I observe Ramadan.”
The paper also tweeted a mock New Year greeting from Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi (see tweet below). Note the “and especially to health!”
If it weren’t clear before, it should be clear now – Islamists do not have a sense of humour about these things and they are determined to intimidate everyone into silent submission. It is time politicians stopped catering to the repressiveness of people who threaten the ideals of free countries. I am very interested in what French President François Hollande will say about this in his address to the nation as he won the election in 2012 mostly because Sarkozy alienated Muslim voters – you could say that Hollande owes his presidency to France’s Muslim population. But Hollande is openly atheist and embraces laïcité, French secularity based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. Will he be the first politician to condemn the dark side of Islam as thwarting French values without isolating Muslims? I hope so. France was a leader in modern democracy and I hope it leads the way again.
Many leaders and organizations are supporting France, including Prime Minister Harper, who tweeted, I’m horrified by the barbaric attacks in France. Even President Putin, whose relationship with France is shaky, condemned the cynical crime and reiterated Russia’s readiness to continue active cooperation in combatting the threat of terrorism.
CFI also condemns the two gunmen and their motivation for killing at least 12 people and wounding at least 10 others at the Paris office of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The Site Stats indicate that today is going to be a great day for Canadian Atheist. At 11:00 EST, there were 238 total views of posts on our blog. I say “our blog” because Canadian Atheist belongs to all of us: readers, writers and commenters. Many readers comment and some commenters are CA writers. Since Canadian Atheist is always looking for new writers, you are invited to be a writer for the premiere Canadian atheist blog that features the writing of a
collection of atheists from across Canada. Some of us have been involved in the freethought movement longer than we’d like to remember and others are quite new. We range from the East coast to the West coast representing organizations such as the Center for Inquiry, the Freethought Association of Canada and various student groups. A couple of our authors come from very religious backgrounds, others still culturally identify in their religion and others never had to deal with religion at all while growing up.
While we all come from different areas and backgrounds we all have one thing in common – we think the Canadian atheist movement is important. Not all of us are atheists, we may even have a Christian sneaking about, but we all understand the importance of secularism and critical thinking in a modern day society. We have the inside scoop on what goes on…the gossip, the internal politics and all the historical context you would ever need to understand any particular situation that happens in Canada.
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