Muhammad cartoons by France's Charb anger Muslims

There was no question Charlie Hebdo would anger Muslims with cartoons about Muhammad. Retaliation is on the way. Photo: Associated Press

FRANCEJanuary 5, 2013 ― There was never a question that publishing a cartoon biography about the life of Muhammad would anger jihadists in the Muslim world. The only debate was how long it would take.

When an American producer created a YouTube video ridiculing Islam and Muhammad, months passed before any violence occurred. Then all hell broke loose throughout the Middle East in September, resulting in countless riots and the on-going controversy over a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

In that instance, most of the rioters never even saw the YouTube presentation. Most of the violence was a knee-jerk response to rumors.

However, when Charlie Hebdo, more commonly known as Charb, announced that he would publish the comic book last Wednesday, he claimed it was based upon his right to free speech. It is the same argument being put forth by Al Gore and his associates regarding the sale of his cable television network to Al Jazeera.

As Hebdo explained, “I don’t think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate.”

What Hebdo did not say is that he is not dealing with “higher Muslim minds” when it comes to inciting violence by publishing provocative material about Islam.

Given that Charb’s announcement gave jihadists plenty of time to react, it wasn’t long before terror threats against France were in the pipeline. According to MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), chatter on Twitter has already revealed a debate discussing the appropriate response to the publication.

Several suggestions have been made, including: killing France’s ambassadors; terrorism similar to Benghazi, the London bus bombings of 2005, and the railway attacks in Spain in 2004; and suicide bombings outside French embassies, especially in Egypt. There seem to be strong feelings that Egyptians have considerable clout in swaying Arab nations.

Other proposals are that hostages Al Qaeda is holding be killed, or that anyone who is able to assassinate a French national should not hesitate to do so.

The Daily Mail in Britain printed a story about Hebdo’s comic, but the picture that accompanied the article was pixilated in order to avoid inflaming Islamic sensitivities to the situation.

Meanwhile, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu denounced the cartoons as inflammatory, but urged restraint on the part of all Muslims. In a report from Arab News, Ihsanoglu said the magazine is an incitement and advocacy of hatred and intolerance.

So far there have been no incidents surrounding the publication of the French cartoons, but it is only a matter of time. A response is coming.

If nothing else, we have learned over the years since 9/11/01 that the jihadist movement is far more patient and dedicated to their cause than the West will admit. Despite Ihsanoglu’s pleas, retaliation from the Islamist world will eventually take place.

If there is one significant difference in this particular case, it is that it could have been avoided simply by not agitating an entire religion with unwarranted salacious material that would knowingly incite violence.

The world is already on fire. There is no need to throw gasoline on the flames.  

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in CharlotteNCTaylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to SwitzerlandFrance and Italy for groups of 12 or more.

Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.

As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 71 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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