Not that I particularly like murderers or islamic terrorism, but let’s call things by their name. Whatever “Charlie Hebdo” did or publish does not excuse in any way the terror used by militant jihadists throughout the world, but this magazine has to adapt to a new and changing world. In the age of the internet, it is simply not possible to publish just anything offensive, in particular if the world’s eyes are looking. But let’s take a more general approach: What to do now?
1. Tackle the real problem: violent jihadism, sponsored by private or governmental entities, spreading the word of murder and crime throughout the world: Western countries should draw a very clear line of what is tolerated and what is not. For instance, salafist Islam should be banned the same way national-socialism is. Imams should be delivered an authorisation by authorities. This should be delivered only if they have a minimum of education, preach in the local language or english, are not instigating violence – in brief: are not salafists.
2. Respect Islam. This is what Charlie Hebdo doesn’t do. Even if westerners have gotten used to their beliefs (if any are left) to be made fun of, this is not the case for a large part of the world. If muslims have a problem with one human being in particular to be represented in a drawing, this should be totally respected. I’m sure there are ways to make cartoons in a more subtle way. The discussion with and critique of Islam should take place, but should leave the level of cheap provocation and insult. There is no “islamic octopus” creeping around at night scaring our children. Islam is full of marvels and treasures.
3. Increase repression. Repression should be much harsher than in the past, but it should also be targeted to jihadists. People who apologise violent jihadism in any way should not be allowed to do any more harm to society. Returners from related militias in Syria or similar should be removed from society in an appropriate way. This is not a time for the faint-hearted: it is the credibility and legitimity of our democratic systems and the rule of law that are at stake.
N.B: I’ve decided to bring this blog back to life, and post more regularly about subjects relating to Switzerland and the world more in general.