January 8, 2015

More Violence From Offended Muslims?

When a major news story breaks, especially an emotionally charged one, I generally try to keep my thoughts to myself for at least the first 24-48 hours or so. Not only am I much more likely to say something stupid when I'm emotionally aroused, but I have learned that the information reported by our news media during and immediately after major events often turns out to be wrong in major ways (e.g., Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine).

With this in mind, I want to acknowledge that it is possible we might eventually learn that some or all of the persons identified as responsible for the murders at the Charlie Hebdo in Paris were not Muslim or that their motivation for this despicable act had nothing whatsoever to do with the paper's cartoon depictions of Muhammad. But at this point, the emerging narrative strongly suggests otherwise. And this raises the following question for me: if it does turn out that the perpetrators were Muslims who were motivated primarily by offense over cartoons, how will those on the political left who continue to deny that Islam is a problem will explain this away?

If it turns out that we have yet another case of Muslims murdering people because they were offended in this particular way, gunning people down while screaming assorted nonsense about Allah, then I believe we must confront the fact that this violence is being driven by Islam. If we have difficulty doing so, it might also be time to critically examine the ideas we refer to collectively as multiculturalism. These ideas seem to be a major obstacle to the sort of examination of Islam that might be helpful, and they inhibit many of us from calling for the sort of reforms that Islam desperately needs.

Perhaps most of all, these attacks should make us sit up and take notice o the fact that free speech is under assault. There are many ideologies out there, some associated with Islam and some not, that seek to crush dissenting viewpoints. Some are even willing to resort to violence to do so; others are currently content with legislation, bullying, and the application of social pressure. None can be allowed to prevail. Free expression is too important.

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