You Disgust Me A Message for those who Rationalize the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

You disgust me.

No, not you, but you.Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.38.19 PM

You are the person who rationalizes or justifies the events in Paris today.  Yeah, Paris.  France.  Europe.  Home to the magazine, Charlie Hebdo.  You are the person who says, “people who publish that rubbish should be killed.”  You are the person who says, “freedom of speech does not extend to insulting the Prophets of Allah.”

That third is a tweet by Anjem Choudary, who later went on to post, “If freedom of expression can be sacrificed for criminalising incitement & hatred, Why not for insulting the Prophet of Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.38.49 PMAllah?

People like this disgust me.

If you are like this, you disgust me.

Let’s be frank, Charlie Hebdo is a rag.  It’s rubbish.  It’s crap.  They publish garbage, but people buy it, so they keep publishing their garbage.

People have a right to publish garbage, so long as they’re not advocating harm or violence towards anyone, or are otherwise violating the rights of another person (i.e. not publishing libel.)

Anjem Choudary even has a right to tweet those two missives.  He’s wrong, of course, and he’s very good at making a complete pig of himself in public, but people have a right to make pigs of themselves.

Freedom of Expression does not extend to incitement and hatred.  It never has.  Hate and incitement link directly to inflicting harm on others within an identifiable group.  That part of what Choudary said is correct.  Where he falls on his face, of course, is in applying the concept to insulting Mohammad.  Insults do not inflict physical harm.  Insults do not kill people.  Insults make the person doing the insulting look small.

I have many friends, of numerous and diverse religious (or non-religious) persuasions.  I am even friends with Muslims.  I want to be clear:  I do not believe all Muslims are in alignment with Choudary.  I believe some are.  I believe some Muslims are terrorists.  I believe some Muslisms are jihadists and/or Islamists.

Some.  A small “some”.  Not all.

Unfortunately, people like Choudary (and you, if you agree with him), by saying these things, stir up these mad dog islamists.  We saw today what three with automatic weapons can do at the headquarters of an awful magazine.

They kill people.

Over a stupid picture.

Over this:

muhammad

I’ve wondered if publishing this picture can put me in danger.  It’s possible, I suppose.  I guess that some crazy could be so horrified and angry with me for publishing this that they can hunt me down and take me out.

But if I didn’t publish it, then I would be a hypocrite.

You see, a Muslim may tell you that nobody should insult the Prophet.  Except there’s one major problem with that statement: Not everyone accepts Mohammad as the Prophet.  If you do, that’s fine.  Accept Mohammad as the prophet, and argue against insulting him.  Argue.  That means use words and reason and logic.  Not guns.

But until I accept your notion that Mohammad is a prophet, your religious doctrine does not apply to me.  It’s therefore completely fair game for me to say or draw whatever I want about Mohammed.  Why?  For no other reason than it’s my right to do so.

In your house, of course, I must follow your rules.  If you invite me to dinner, I will respect and honour your religious traditions.  If I invite you for dinner, I would expect you to respect and honour mine while in my house as well.  However, when in public, your traditions do not apply to me, and mine do not apply to you.

524px-Piss_Christ_by_Serrano_Andres_(1987)Perhaps you don’t accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.  That’s fine too.  In that case, the Christian doctrines and practices that apply to me do not apply to you.  Do you want to produce crap a work of “art” such as, for example,  the photograph on the left? Entitled Piss Christ, it is a photograph of a crucifix suspended in a jar of the photographer’s own urine. Fill your boots!  I think it’s disgusting, of course, but, unless you’re receiving public funds or tax credits, you have every right to produce that garbage it.  And I won’t pay money to see it.  I’ve only posted an image here because it’s relevant to the argument I’m making.

These same rules apply to cartoons depicting Mohammad.  I am not you.  What offends me may not offend you.  What offends you may not offend me.

And if you think that I will be silenced by the likes of you, think again, because you disgust me.

About Steven Britton

Steve is a freelance programmer, partial billionaire, dad, Recovering Atheist, Conservative, and occasionally prolific blogger.