Charlie Hebdo Muhammad Cartoons

Charlie Hebdo Muhammad Cartoons

The Charlie Hebdo Muhammad Cartoons debacle was an outrage when it happened. My spin on the prophet Muhammad cartoons is that they are blasphemy, plain and simple.

Like many subjects, religion falls into a sensitive subject matter and once you mix the fact that cartoons are speaking out about a specific religion, not to mention making fun of it then you have the perfect storm for a volatile subject.

Mix in some religious fanaticism and then a little more “terrorist mentality” and you have the perfect recipe for an explosive situation.

prophet muhammad cartoons are blasphemy

Cartoonist Luz holding up cover of Charlie Hebdo

Such was the case in early 2015 when on Wednesday January the 7th, two masked gunmen burst into the offices in Paris France at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles killing several people and wreaking havoc for two additional days before being killed by authorities.

It’s easy to understand the sorrow for those who were murdered in this outrageous attack and feel the sorrow for any families affected by this cowardly form of vengeance.

Cartoons Demeaning The Muslim Faith

What I fail to understand is how this form of free speech makes sense.

The photo that accompanies my article depicts cartoonist Luz with his cartoon on the cover of the magazine following the attacks, and the statement “all is forgiven” and I asked myself “isn’t it a bit late?”. I mean, if you blaspheme another religion, be prepared for some sort of response.

Normally an outpouring of letters to the editors will justify this. However, when you’re creating content directed towards religious fanaticism, you need to realize there are those who are out there that may be prepared to physically harm you because of it.

The editors at the publication were well aware of it and there was a bodyguard on site who was also killed. Really, there should have been a larger armed force on site because of the volatile content the magazine was publishing.

I do condone free speech but not blasphemy which is certainly the point that Charlie Hebdo’s publisher and staff were focusing in on.

One author who immediately comes to mind whenever this subject surfaces is Satantic Verses author Salman Rushdie who years ago was also targeted by extremists in regards to the content of his book.

Blasphemy gets attention because I recall one artist years ago, and I use the term “artist” loosely because he displayed photographs at a museum of very controversial subject matter including large photos of crucifixes in jars of urine . . . really, the shock factor with this kind of material goes beyond offensive but then again, we have “free speech” to thank for these types of exhibits.

I have no doubt more cartoonists will create material that mocks the prophet Muhammad but for the life of me I can’t see the redeeming value and the time worthiness spent on this kind of topic.

Do these artists get paid that well to continue this kind of work? Freedom of expression is one thing but I hope their “karma gods” are watching over them.

It is worth noting for anyone reading this that even President Obama has worked closely in suppressing this type of behavior (no! not Barack!) and for anyone not aware, the White House has worked closely with the United Nations  and back in 2009, the Obama administration stealthily was supporting Muslim allies trying to establish a new international blasphemy standard,
Then Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton invited delegations to Washington to work on implementing that standard.

If you do not believe the Obama administration supports Muslim countries which are seeking to spread an international  standard that forbids blasphemy, please note that a United Nations Resolution was successfully developed and passed, unbeknownst to most Americans and free speech advocates.

The United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 was accepted and it’s intention was to establish a common ground for religious tolerance.

This resolution was officially approved and passed in March of 2011 and there are very many in-depth clauses of which some should be of interest to creatives like cartoonists. Such as:

    • It affirms “the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.”
    • It “condemns any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audio-visual or electronic media or any other means.”
    • In a list of “actions to foster a domestic environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect,” it calls on states to adopt “measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.”

Of particular interest, should be the last clause. It gives the go-ahead for potentially charging a cartoonist or any other creative with inciting others to violence.

In essence, the administration has aided in potentially making anyone (and this certainly includes cartoonists) liable for continuing with this type of creative work. Do I agree with this? It’s a catch 22 situation because it goes against “free speech”, however I can see this as a tool to possibly deter cartoonists from engaging in this kind of creative work.

You can find in depth results using your favorite search engine and using “united nations human rights council resolution 1618” to get more in formation on this resolution.

I’ve noticed Obama never uses the words “Islamic terrorists” in his public speeches . . .could this be the reason why?

I’ve always enjoyed creating the types of cartoon material I want but like anything, there are lines you don’t want to cross over and in this sensitive social media-driven digital age, it is even more imperative to keep the aspect of blasphemy in mind. If there is some sort of redeeming value in making fun of a prophet or religious icon, I’m not seeing that…maybe I’m “ink blind” when it comes to that but I’m sure there are hundreds if not thousands of other topics that deserve cartoonists’ attention and could be used for the greater good.