Saturday, January 31, 2015

Disgrace in mourning

We would think that, if there is such a thing as a dignified social event, it would be the commemoration of murder victims.

Unfortunately, we are sometimes wrong about that.

On Jan. 11, about 1,5 millions of people and 40 world leaders marched in Paris at a unity rally to honor the victims of the Jan. 7 massacre.

The leader of the free world Barack Obama, wasn't there. Neither was any high-ranking member of his administration. The USA were represented merely by their ambassador in Paris.

This absence was more than compensated by the bizarre presence of representatives of states notorious for cracking down on free speech. Among them was the Saudi foreign minister, two days after imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was publicly flogged for thoughts he had expressed in his blog.

This still wasn't the worst, however.

Among the 17 human beings murdered by Islamists on Jan. 7, there were four Jews targeted at a kosher supermarket. They were Yoav Hattab (21), Yohan Cohen (20), Philippe Braham (45) and Francois-Michel Saada (63).

The photos are copied from Ynet News. You can read obituaries of all Jan. 7 victims e.g. at BBC's site.

Some of the killed Charlie Hebdo contributors were Jews. However, these four men were different. They did not insult anybody's religion. They were not combatants in the great battle for free speech. They were murdered simply because they were Jews. For an Islamist, any and every event is a good occasion to attack Jews; and this must be kept in mind by every Muslim and non-Muslim who tries to feel well about Islam or to have a "balanced" opinion about the Mideast conflict. In France, this  hate-motivated murder of four Jews doesn't come out of nowhere. Before it, there was the 2006 torture to death of Ilan Halimi, and then the 2012 murder of three Jewish children and a rabbi in Toulouse. In all cases, the victims were killed solely for being Jews (the definition of genocide), and the perpetrators were Muslims acting in the name of Islam.

Given that four of the Jan. 7, 2015 victims were Jews killed for being Jews, anyone of the meanest understanding would expect to see the representative of Israel at most honorable position at the Jan. 11 unity march, next to the French President Hollande. However, the French leaders had another opinion. The story is described in many news sources; I'll use first Israeli TV: Hollande didn't want Netanyahu at Paris march, by the Times of Israel and AFP:

"French President Francois Hollande did not want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend Sunday’s historic march in Paris, believing the Israeli leader’s presence at the rally would be “divisive,” Israeli media reported Sunday.

Netanyahu initially accepted Paris’s wishes and on Saturday cited security concerns to explain why he would not attend the event, which was organized in a show of solidarity and defiance after terrorist attacks in the French capital, which claimed 17 lives. Among the victims were four Jews at a kosher supermarket and a Muslim police officer.

However, the Prime Minister changed his mind later Saturday after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced they would join the march, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported.

When Netanyahu’s office told the Elysee Palace that he would be coming after all, France responded by highlighting that it was extending an invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the report. The French government also announced a planned meeting between Hollande and Abbas Saturday night..."

 Now, some additional details from Pushy in Paris: Israelis up in arms over PM's posturing, by Laurent Lozano (AFP, via Yahoo! News):

"Images of Israel's premier elbowing his way to the front row of world leaders in Paris sparked both embarrassment and amusement back home - providing rich pickings for opponents in the upcoming election.

A welter of headlines and columns were prompted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pushing to the front of Sunday's march in Paris and unsuccessfully trying to jump to the head of a queue waiting for a bus...

After joining others at Hollande's Elysee Palace, Netanyahu tried to edge his way into the first bus taking officials to the starting point of the march but failed.

Once he was at the march, Netanyahu deftly manoeuvred his way from the second row to the first..."

To sum up: French president Hollande didn't want Netanyahu on the march, because his presence would be "divisive" - read: offensive to Palestinians and other Muslims who want Jews dead, or at least are thought so. When Netanyahu insisted to attend, Hollande rushed to invite Abbas, for ballance, though Abbas had nothing to do there - he is not committed to free speech, neither were there any Palestinians murdered on Jan. 7. The French also tried to keep Netanyahu in the "back of the bus", forcing him to push his way forward. And after the march, but still before the victims were even laid to rest, the problem was shifted and was no longer the Islamist murderers but the "pushy" Jew. This shameful incident clearly shows how deep is Jew-hatred rooted in Western psyche. As for some Israelis finding Netanyahu's behavior unsuitable - I am sure that when Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man, she was also labeled "pushy" not only by a significant proportion of whites but also by quite a few blacks.

Another story casting the shadow of indignity over the tragedy was related to the slain Charlie Hebdo's editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier (47, known as "Charb").

Immediately after his death, ex-Muslim politician Jeannette Bougrab (41) came out as his girlfriend for a period of 3 years and talked of him and their relationship in a series of emotional interviews. She said: "I always knew he was going to die like Theo van Gogh. I begged him to leave France but he wouldn't. My companion is dead because he drew in a newspaper... He never had children because he knew he was going to die. He lived without fear, but he knew he would die... He died standing. He defended secularism. He defended the spirit of Voltaire. He, in fact, was really the fruit of this ideal of the Republic that we've almost forgotten. He died, executed with his comrades, as he would say... I haven't lost Charlie Hebdo. I've lost a loved one. I am here, not as a former government minister, but as a woman who has lost her man, who has been murdered by barbarians. I admired him before I fell in love with him and I loved him because of the way he was, because he was brave."

However, Charbonnier's brother and parents were not happy with Ms. Bougrab. The brother Laurent Charbonnier stated that the family "formally denies any committed relationship between Charb and Jeanette Bougrab". He also insisted that Ms. Bougrab stays away from the funeral and stops talking to media: "We do not want her to express herself in the manner in which she has done. We ask for respect for our family's mourning." Jeannette Bougrab publicly complained of their request and attitude but complied to it and did not attend the funeral. She also released a photo showing that she and Charb had been at least close friends, if not something more:

Stephane Charbonnier with Jeannette Bougrab and her adopted daughter (source: Twitter).

I understand why Charb had tried to be discrete about his relationship. He had said, "I am not afraid of retaliation. I have no kids, no wife, no car, no credit. It perhaps sounds a bit pompous, but I prefer to die standing than living on my knees." In a similar way, Bulgarian writer Georgi Stoev separated himself from his girlfriend and their daughter because he knew he would be killed for his writings about organized crime.

When a loved one dies, his relatives are overwhelmed by the loss and wish a quiet, nice funeral (what an oxymoron!). They don't want there anyone who could "make a scene". So I can, to some degree, put myself in the shoes of Charb's natal family. But I utterly disapprove what they did. It was a funeral after all, they could show a little generosity and let all who wished to bid farewell! The wife of former French President Mitterrand must have been deeply hurt by him having a mistress and a daughter out of wedlock, yet invited them to the funeral! Why couldn't the Charbonniers get over their feelings? As some commented, it was bitter irony that the relations of a man who died for freedom of expression didn't want Ms. Bougrab to "express herself". Also, Charb's family may have done exactly what his murderers wanted, that is, staying silenced about his murder and silencing Jeannette Bougrab. Islamists definitely don't want people to express themselves the way Ms. Bougrab did. In their wish to avoid bad publicity, the Charbonniers generated more of it than Ms. Bougrab ever could if she had been allowed to speak and to attend the funeral. And finally, while her saying that they had "killed him a second time" by not letting her attend was a great exaggeration, it is true that the public image of a man with a girlfriend is better than that of a loner.

Anyway, although Jeannette Bougrab was silenced at the end, it was her words that portrayed Charb not only as a man with a cause but also as a human being able to love and worthy to be loved.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Russian peace activist imprisoned for exposing Kremlin's lies

From today's AFP report Russian mother of seven accused of treason over Ukraine, by Anna Smolchenko:

"A mother of seven has been accused of treason for calling the Ukrainian embassy about Russian troop movements in the latest sign of Moscow attempting to cover up its intervention in its neighbouring state.
Svetlana Davydova, 36, was arrested last week by a group of men in black uniforms who burst into her apartment in the town of Vyazma, west of Moscow, her husband Anatoly Gorlov told AFP.

She was still breastfeeding their youngest child, a two and a half month old girl, when she was taken away, he said.

The woman -- who faces between 12 and 20 years in prison -- is being held at the high-security Lefortovo jail in Moscow, her lawyer Andrei Stebenev told AFP.

"She called where she was not supposed to call and said what she was not supposed to say," said Stebenev, who has been appointed by the state.

He said he could not comment further because the Russian General Staff said details of the case constituted a "state secret."

He added that the woman managed to keep her composure in detention. "She is keeping her chin up."...

Davydova's husband told AFP that his wife, who had taken an anti-war stance over the Ukraine conflict, phoned the Ukrainian embassy last April and apparently told them the local military base in Vyazma was empty, suggesting soldiers there had been deployed across the border.

She also apparently informed embassy staff she had overheard a serviceman saying troops of the Russian military intelligence service, the GRU, would be sent on a mission.

The troops would wear plainclothes and remain away at least until elections.

Davydova suspected the troops would be deployed to Ukraine which held presidential elections last May, Gorlov said.

The fighting between Moscow-backed separatists and government troops broke out in eastern Ukraine in April.

The Kremlin has denied Russian troops have been fighting alongside insurgents.

Last year Russia charged an elderly rights activist with fraud after she challenged Moscow's denials that its troops were on the ground in Ukraine.

Lyudmila Bogatenkova was released in October after an outcry but her criminal case remains open.

Davydova has four children with Gorlov and they are also raising three children from his previous marriage.
He insisted that his wife did not betray her country.

"She does not want our military to take part in some kind of plot," Gorlov said, adding that they both opposed Russia's seizure of Crimea last March.

He said he was told to cooperate with the investigation or risk losing custody of his children...

Vladislav Yusupov, a lawyer and rights activist, said the case was an embarrassment for authorities who have enforced a virtual blackout on any information related to Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

"The opening of this case is an acknowledgement that troops have been deployed to Ukraine."

President Vladimir Putin said in December that any Russians fighting in Ukraine had gone there "following the call of the heart".

The case brings to mind some of the worst excesses of the Soviet repressive machine.

When reports of the arrest first appeared online, some appeared reluctant to believe such a case was even possible in modern Russia.

"There is no war but there are spies," one woman, Tatiana Tutaeva, wrote on Facebook..."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Supporting Savchenko

This photo (source: OffNews) shows yesterday's protest in front of the Russian embassy in Sofia in support of Ukrainian Army officer Nadiya Savchenko illegally held captive by Russia.

We were not many, but we knew why we were there.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The silence of Muslim organizations about Raif Badawi

Muslim organizations around the world were quick to condemn the Jan. 7 Islamist massacre in Paris triggered by cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad. That was fine. It was maybe not so fine that the very statements of condemnation often included also a remark how one must not offend religion, but... let's not be so demanding.

At the same time, there was another major event related to Islam and freedom of speech: imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was publicly flogged for "insulting Islam", though he had never published any offensive cartoon.

Though the story never made breaking news, it led to worldwide indignation, vigils in front of Saudi embassies and, among other things, a letter by no less than 18 Nobel Laureates.

While many ordinary Muslims expressed their support to Badawi and protested against his treatment, the attitude of Muslim organizations can be described only as deafening silence. I've found statements by the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and by the Muslims for Progressive Values (the latter dating back from 2013) and that was all. Our Grand Mufti condemned the Paris attacks (with a remark in passing that free speech is "not for defamation of religious sacredness") but didn't take stance about the Saudi blogger.

Of course, I am likely to have omitted several voices, but others have also mentioned the trend. A commenter from Canada says, "Raif Badawi is abandoned by Muslims in Canada . His wife and three children live in Quebec, Canada. Where are the Muslim Association of Quebec and Canada to vigorously defend Raif Badawi on behalf of their alleged Islam of love and tolerance? Where are the Imams of Quebec and Canada to proclaim loudly that they reject torture, amputations and medieval practices of Saudi Arabia and the Sharia?"

I don't wish to discuss the possible reasons for this silence, but I remember that in the Cold War era, the Communist parties in Western countries also preferred to keep silence about human rights abuses in the Soviet Union and the entire Eastern bloc.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Unseen university students

Photo: University students hold placards during a demonstration against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Jan. 17. Source Reuters / Feisal Omar, copied from The placards state: "I am a Muslim and I love my Prophet".

You cannot make this image up.

If these young ladies dress and behave like this by their own free choice... then I think that the University of Mogadishu needs an urgent and profound revision of its enrollment procedures.

However, if they are acting under pressure, they have all my sympathy.

I suspect this is the case at least for the girl at right. Look at her! She is wearing a piece of orange cloth, she has bright red polish on her nails and jewelry on her left hand. As far as I know, all these things are haram.

While it must be highly inconvenient to wear such clothes particularly in Somalia's climate, they have at least one advantage. If 20-25 years from now Somalis feel ashamed about these rallies, every single woman can claim that she has not been there and no one can prove the opposite, no matter how many photos have documented her presence.

Truly an Unseen University!

The problem with Islamophobic politicians

The Jan. 7 Islamist massacre in Paris was just another wake-up call for Europeans to protect their civilization against the onslaught of radical Islam.

Unfortunately, so far Europeans have little clue how to do this. It is clear that any effort to saveguard the traditional way of life, culture and values of Europe would require political action. It seems, however, that traditional politicians do not intend to do anything at all. They just keep telling citizens to accept Islam and (presumably) all problems and drawbacks that come together with it, and to pray that some relics of our civilization will survive against all odds.

On the other hand, there are openly Islamophobic parties and political movements of the type usually called "far-right". However, while they may occasionally do something useful, they are, to put it mildly, problematic. In Bulgaria, their main representative is Volen Siderov and his Ataka (Attack) party. Hate-mongering and propensity to violence are two of his distinguishing qualities. A third one is his Russophilia. A satirical weekly made a joke about him: "Is Volen Siderov a patriot? Yes, he is, but of a bigger (than Bulgaria) country." Siderov's last action was issuing a newsletter complaining that Ataka's media had not been allowed to properly report John Kerry's visit. Nothing unusual, you'd say... except that the letter addressed to Bulgarian media was, for mysterious reasons, written in Russian (link in Bulgarian). As you see, Siderov and his bunch of outcasts make Bulgarian political life colorful. However, if they collect more votes, they could become very dangerous.

In Germany, the Dresden-based group PEGIDA organizes rallies against the Islamization of Germany. So far so good, one would say. The same group also calls for reconciliation with Russia. This is hardly a coincidence. As Jeremy Bender wrote last December in his article Putin is infiltrating European politics with shocking effectiveness (published by the Business Insider), "Putin has become shockingly effective at influencing European politics through a host of far-right parties... The parties, located in the UK, France, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, and Hungary, are increasingly popular - and staunchly against giving more power to the EU. Each of the parties has also fostered a closer relationship with Russia, and has protested against sanctions on Moscow following its annexation of Ukraine. The six parties linked to Russia are the UK's UK Independence Party (UKIP), France's National Front, Germany's National Democratic Party, Hungary's Jobbik, Greece's Golden Dawn, and Bulgaria's Attack... Russia expert John Schindler explains that while the Soviet Union backed communist-leaning parties to influence politics, Russia is now financing far-right parties in an attempt to steer European politics. The preferred outcome for Russia would be the dissolution of the EU and the end of a counterweight to Russian power."

However, it wasn't the shameful support for the aggressor state Russia which forced PEGIDA's founder Lutz Bachmann to resign yesterday, but his selfie carefully staged to emulate Adolf Hitler (above; source: Wikimedia). This same nice guy also has a thick criminal record including burglaries, dealing cocaine and assault.

In 2012, during a discussion about Islamophobic mass murderer Anders Breivik on Rose-Anne Clermont's blog, commenter Gustav told me: "In case you share those (Islamophobic) views: Reconsider them and repent!" As you guess, I am nowhere near reconsidering my secular, pro-freedom views, let alone repenting for them. But, needless to say, I am also nowhere near individuals such as Bachmann or any other mini-Hitler. These psychopaths cannot help Europe and, as doctors say, are not good for our health.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Islamists are up in arms against cartoons

As the shock after the Jan. 7 murder of 17 human beings in Paris because of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad gradually subsides, some people discuss why cartoons are so effective in stirring the anger of Islamists.

We can remember what Kenneth Clarke wrote in his Civilisation: The "aggressive, nomadic cultures of Israel, Islam and the Protestant North" (called by H. G. Wells "communities of the Will") "produced very little religious imagery, and in most cases positively forbade it." There is indeed a taboo in Islam on creating images of humans, especially Muhammad, and even of animals. I don't know the original source of this taboo, but it is taken seriously by too many. Recently, a Saudi cleric even issued a fatwa against snowmen.

Islamists, however, have an additional reason to be up in arms against cartoon representation of their Prophet: such pictures could sow the seeds of doubt and dissent in the rank-and-file Muslims who are likely to overlook more sophisticated argumentation against the tenets of their faith.

Back in 2006, during the first Muhammad cartoon crisis, Wesley Pruden made an interesting comparison:

'Boss Tweed, who presided over New York in the 19th (century)... suffered boils and warts at the hand of the great newspaper cartoonist, Thomas Nast. "Stop them damn pictures," the old Tammany tiger told his hit men. "I don't care what the papers write about me. My constituents can't read. But they can see the pictures."'

In that conflict, cartoonist Thomas Nast won. Boss Tweed was convicted and died in jail.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Petitions in support of Saudi blogger sentenced to torture

Raif Badawi (30) is a Saudi blogger convicted for insulting Islam. People familiar with his blog say that he actually criticized top clerics who hold much power in the country.

Mr. Badawi was arrested in 2012. Last year, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes, 50 each Friday for 20 weeks. Last Friday, he was chained outside a mosque and given the first 50 lashes. The same is to happen again the day after tomorrow. There are fears that he may not survive the beating.

Raif's wife and three children fled to Canada. The picture below shows his eldest child, 10-yr-old Terad, holding his father's photo (source: Montreal Gazette).

Amnesty International and have petitions asking for release of Raif Badawi. I am highly skeptical that the Saudi authorities could be influenced this way, but still, why not sign.

Update: Raif has diabetes, which in young people is always severe.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The low point of Obama's presidency

Why did Americans elect President Obama?

Well, they wanted to punish the Republicans for the financial crisis. But why did they give Obama a second term?

I had forebodings of evil even before Obama took office. Later, I briefly liked him for the way he intervened to save the Libyan people from Gadaffi. Otherwise, however, Obama's presidency was as bad as I expected - or worse. The USA abdicated from its superpower role, pushing the world into free fall. Parts of the Middle East are now controlled by the murderous thugs of the Islamic State, and Russia is attacking and engulfing its neighbors, as if it is again 1944. And, similarly to the end of Pax Romana in antiquity, the end of Pax Americana is manifested by a revival of piracy.

It is not clear how much of this is a result of Obama's incompetence and how much reflects his bizarre, rotten set of values (if we can apply this term to them) apparent from his speeches during the first election campaign. Former CIA officer Clare Lopez went so far as to claim that Obama has "switched sides in war on terror", appeasing Islamists and infiltrating his administration with them. I still tended to regard Obama as just a poor guy who, after making a brilliant career by nothing more than empty talk, was suddenly catapulted to the most important position on Earth and so rose to the level of his incompetence. Until today, when he did something for which I find no excuse. It was actually failure to do the thing that was to be done.

Today, about 40 world leaders will attend a unity march in Paris to express their condemnation of the Paris Islamist massacre... but Obama won't attend it.

No explanation is given. I see two possible ones, both unpleasant: either Obama is not so much against the killing of the blasphemous Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and does not wish to offend the Islamists by honoring the victims, or he fears that some other misunderstander of Islam may use the opportunity to shoot him.

So, let us all bite our lips and count the days to the end of Obama's presidency.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Islamist attempts of deception add insult to injury

After the Jan. 7 Islamist attack against French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, we hear many reactions by Muslims. And of course, all "official" ones, except those by terrorist gangs such as Al-Qaeda and IS, condemn the shooting. However, the very statements of condemnation often include messages that, for me, are as bad as open support for the murderers. Or even worse, because I hate hypocrisy more than open malice.

Let's look at a masterpiece titled What cartoonists and terrorists have in common - they got Islam all wrong. I admit I become furious even at this point, seeing that the victims are described as similar to the murderers. The author is Daisy Khan who won notoriety in America by masterminding the infamous Ground Zero mosque. She writes, "Prophet Muhammad was instructed by God to face the ignorance with graciousness and the enmity with love... Indeed, as I delved myself deeper into the Quran, I found striking similarities between Islamic ethics and American values. The Quran speaks of humankind as one nation under God, it describes the one creator and insures human equality, Muslim jurists wrote 1,000 years ago about Islamic law protecting of six principles which form the basis for six human rights: the right to life, the right to free exercise of religion, the right to own property, the right to a family, the right to advance one’s intellect … and the right to dignity."

This is the definition of brazen lie. Does the author consider us all idiots? If you haven't invested time to educate yourself about Islam, Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, you can start with this page by Ali Sina: "...Quran tells Muslims to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), murder them and treat them harshly (9:123), slay them (9:5), fight with them (8:65), strive against them with great endeavor (25:52), be stern with them because they belong to hell (66:9) and strike off their heads; then after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” for ransom (47:4). This is how the pagans are to be treated. As for the Christians and the Jews, the order is to subdue them and impose on them a penalty tax, after humiliating them (9:29) and if they resist, kill them... The Quran is alien to freedom of belief and recognizes no other religion but Islam (3:85). It condemns those who do not believe to hellfire (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), orders the Muslims to fight them until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193)... and smite their heads (47:4)..."

As you see, unlike the liar Daisy Khan, Sina gives a list of references - chapters (surahs) and verses from the Quran. Because the original links had expired, I redirected them to an English translation of the Quran uploaded by the University of South California, so that you can easily check for yourself.

Khan continues: "When the 9/11 attacks happened... I heard one perennial question: “Where are the moderates and why don’t they speak out?” So as a forward-thinking, moderate, peace-loving Muslim I felt an obligation to step into the arena... In 2010, nine years after 9/11, we could not think of a better expression to promote the peaceful values of our faiths than creating the Cordoba House... But detractors and certain media pundits, instead of amplifying the voice of moderate Muslim, added fuel to the fire by spreading emotional flames of fear, prejudice, and hatred against the project they inaccurately labeled the “Ground Zero Mosque.” It was classic, textbook Islamophobia. If not challenged, Islamophobia can become an accepted form of racism."

What to say about that? First, in most cultures (actually, in all that I know), it is unacceptable for an adult to praise herself the way Ms. Khan does. Second, I find disgusting her attempt to use the massacre in Paris in order to advertise her Ground Zero mosque, which of course I also find disgusting. And third, please pay attention how the author brings home her message that Islamophobia is worse than Islamist terror.

Well, enough about Daisy Khan. Now, let's look at the essay Not in my name by Mona Shadia, "award-winning Egyptian-American journalist and writer", published by Huffington Post. Ms. Shadia writes, "...Those murderer terrorists sure do have something in common with the prophet. It is in the encounter between a victim and his oppressor. These terrorists are the prophet's and Islam's enemies. The enemies who existed while he lived. The ones who would bully, attack and injure him. The enemies who would attempt to silence him. There's something so ironic about that." Actually, as we know from historical accounts of the Prophet's life and deeds, his "enemies" were simply people who did not want - and for good reason - to be ruled, robbed, enslaved or killed by him (details e.g. here and here).

Ms. Shadia continues: "There's an ongoing debate within the American Muslim community on whether or not Muslims should condemn such attacks in the name of Islam. There's an argument that Christians and Jews and Buddhists never have to go out in full force and condemn acts done in the name of their respective religions. Even though, like with the Paris massacre case, those who do twist and turn religious texts to justify these actions. There is an argument that in condemning these acts we are admitting that it is done on behalf of Islam, that we are responsible and we are attaching guilt and shame to ourselves and Islam. There is an argument that the west has much more to apologize for its acts of genocide and war in the Middle East and other places. There's an argument that in expecting Muslims to apologize, we are subjugated by the west and held in a catch-22 scenario of having to apologize, even though these acts have nothing to do with our religion. And then there are those who argue that we Muslims must condemn these actions, not to please anyone but to remain proactive and in charge of our destiny. This is the side of argument to which I belong... I do not care whether Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists or any other group condemn or not condemn acts of terrorism in their name. I do not care whether the word terrorism has unjustly become exclusive to Muslims by the media and islamophobes. I, a Muslim, am responsible for making sure my religion is portrayed factually, not to please anyone, but to be true to myself and my religion. I am responsible because it is what my religion teaches me."

I admit I stand in awe to Mona Shadia's writing skills. Only a trained, award-winning journalist could in so few words pack so many nasty implications: that there is religion-motivated Christian, Jewish and Buddhist terror comparable to Muslim terror, that the West does genocide in the Middle East, that the acts of terrorists shouting "Allahu akbar!" have nothing to do with Islam, and that Muslims (and Ms. Shadia in particular) are superior to Christians, Jews, Buddhists and atheists because Muslims condemn acts of terrorism in their name while the other listed groups do not.

Ms. Shadia has a blog and I threw a glance on it. I don't advise you to waste your time on it, just want to draw your attention to her Oct. 10, 2012 post. It is a reaction to an ad by Pamella Geller saying, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel — Defeat Jihad." Shadia first says, even before giving the actual text of the ad, that it is "basically concluding that Muslims (and Palestinians) are savages". I think she is too quick to basically conclude that the people Ms. Geller is warning against, i.e. the murderous Jew-haters obsessed with finishing what Hitler begun, include all Muslims - or even all Palestinians. Though I can easily believe that they do include Ms. Shadia, who seems to interpret Israel's existence as an act of Western genocide against Muslims - see above, and also here.

Most interesting in this post, however, is that, after briefly describing her life, the author offers this jewel: "In a few words, my friends would describe me as kind, just, loyal, tough, honest and good-hearted." It apparently doesn't occur to Ms. Shadia for a second that she must let her friends say this, instead of speaking for them to praise herself. What's wrong with these people? Two heartless, arrogant, lying Muslim activists publicly show narcissism that you don't expect from any remotely intelligent person above age 10! Is this a pattern? (I hope it is just a coincidence that both authors are female.)

I wonder, do these writers (and their numerous clones) realize that, speaking on behalf of all Muslims without any authorization and arrogantly broadcasting hatred and transparent lies, they encourage the same "Islamophobia" of which they keep complaining? To me, such attempts of deception are almost as good in generating Islamophobia as terror acts and threats. But let us be generous and assume that Ms. Khan, Ms. Shadia and their likes sincerely believe that the Islamist terror does not represent the true nature of Islam. Then, let us kindly tell them that they need not explain this to us, it is a waste of time. They should go and try to enlighten the terrorists instead.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Why Islam will fail

Below, I am reprinting David Wood's essay Islam Beheaded, copied from This post is blog action against Islamism in a response to yesterdays's mass murder of journalists in Paris by Islamist terrorists. Warning: the text is very long. If you are a Muslim, it is likely to offend you, but nevertheless I strongly advise you to read it.

Islam Beheaded

The Information Superhighway and the Death of Mohammedanism[1]

Heinrich Heine once wrote a clever poem titled "Marie Antoinette," in which the ghost of everyone’s favorite French queen entertains her guests with "strictest etiquette." The irony of the poem is that neither Antoinette nor her guests realize that their heads are missing. They were all beheaded during the French Revolution, but without their heads, they don’t have the brains to acknowledge their headlessness.

Islam is currently in a similar situation. Muhammad’s empire of faith has managed to thrive in the modern world for one simple reason: Muslims have kept Muhammad’s dark past a secret. Indeed, they have gone beyond keeping it a secret; they have somehow convinced themselves (and many others) that Muhammad was an outstanding moral example, perhaps even the greatest moral example of all time. Perpetuating this fraud has been, in my opinion, the most stupendous deception in world history.

True, there are plenty of instances in Muhammad’s life that one could view as the deeds of a moral individual, and Muslims are quick to point out his acts of charity and his dedication to prayer. However, in assessing the overall character of a man, we must take into account all of his actions, not just the ones that support our feelings about him. For instance, suppose I become convinced that the greatest person in history was a man named John Gacy. I could point to his charity work at local hospitals, to his activities in the Boy Scouts and the Jaycees[2], to his patient endurance of numerous physical ailments, to his community activities such as neighborhood barbecues and other social gatherings, to his generosity to others, to his dedication to his family, and to his outstanding work ethic, which made him one of the pillars of his local business community. Yet, if I am to make a case for the moral superiority of Mr. Gacy, I must not leave out the fact that he raped, tortured, and murdered more than thirty boys and buried them under his house.[3]

I bring this up because of the peculiar tactic employed by Muslims whenever the character of Muhammad is challenged. When someone argues that Muhammad was a robber or a murderer, Muslims suddenly cry out in one accord, "But he was merciful and kind! He started Islam, and Islam is good! God revealed the Qur’an through him! How dare you say something bad about him!? He was the greatest prophet ever! Stop being so intolerant!" The difficulty here is that, no matter how loudly a Muslim shouts these objections, they have no power to overcome the historical fact that Muhammad was a robber and a murderer. Yet, to a Muslim who already believes that Muhammad was a prophet, the Islamic line of reasoning apparently makes sense. Nevertheless, to anyone who is not a committed Muslim, any claim to moral superiority will be an empirical issue, that is, a matter of examining and weighing the evidence.

Tragically, examining the evidence is something that most Muslims seem unwilling to do. In fact, Muslims have been so persistent in ignoring the facts about their prophet that the Muhammad now proclaimed by Islam bears little resemblance to the man who preached in Arabia more than thirteen centuries ago. For example, Abul A’la Mawdudi presents the following picture of Muhammad:
He is entirely different from the people among whom he is born and with whom he spends his youth and early manhood. He never tells a lie. The whole nation is unanimous in testifying to his truthfulness. . . . He is the very embodiment of modesty in the midst of a society which is immodest to the core. . . . He helps the orphans and the widows. He is hospitable to travelers. He harms no one . . . [He] is such a lover of peace that his heart melts for the people when they take up arms and cut each other’s throats. . . . In brief, the towering and radiant personality of this man, in the midst of such a corrupted and dark environment, may be likened to a beacon-light brightening a pitch-dark night or to a diamond in a heap of dead stones. . . . [After he begins to deliver the message of Islam the] ignorant nation turns against him. Abuses and stones are showered at his august person. Every conceivable torture and cruelty is perpetrated upon him. . . . Can anyone ever imagine a higher example of self-sacrifice, brotherliness and kind-heartedness towards his fellow beings than that a man would ruin his happiness for the good of others, while those very people for whose betterment he is striving should stone him, abuse him, banish him, and give him no quarter even in his exile, and that, in spite of this all, he should refuse to stop working for their well being? . . . When he began preaching his Message, all of Arabia stood in awe and wonder and was bewitched by his wonderful eloquence and oratory. It was so impressive and captivating that his worst enemies were afraid of hearing it, lest it should penetrate deep into the recesses of their hearts and carry them off their feet making them forsake their old religion and culture. It was so matchless that the whole legion of Arab poets, preachers, and speakers of the highest caliber failed to bring forth its equivalent. . . . This reserved and quiet man who, for a full forty years, never gave any indication of political interest or activity, suddenly appeared on the stage of the world as such a great political reformer and statesman that without the aid of radio, telephone and press, he brought together the scattered inhabitants of a desert extending across twelve hundred thousand square miles. He joined together a people who were warlike, ignorant, unruly, uncultured, and plunged in self-destructive trivial warfare—under one banner, one law, one religion, one culture, one civilization, and one form of government. . . . He accomplished this feat not through any lure, oppression or cruelty, but by his captivating manner, his winsome personality, and the conviction of his teaching. With his noble and gentle behavior, he befriended even his enemies. He captured the hearts of the people with his boundless sympathy and human kindness. . . . He did not oppress even his deadly enemies, men who had sworn to kill him . . . He forgave them all when he triumphed over them. He never took revenge on anyone for his personal grievances. He never retaliated against anyone for the wrongs perpetrated on him. . . . It was he who turned the course of human thought away from superstition, the unnatural and the unexplainable, towards a logical approach illustrating a love for truth and a balanced worldly life. . . . In the cavalcade of world history, the sublime figure of this wonderful person towers so high above all the great men of all times that they appear to be dwarfs when contrasted to him. . . . Can anyone cite another example of a maker of history of such distinction, another revolutionary of such brilliance and splendor?[4]
This is actually a very condensed version of Mawdudi’s reverent depiction of his beloved prophet, but it accurately reflects the Islamic conception of Muhammad. The problem, of course, is that this conception is horribly inaccurate. The historical Muhammad (that is, the Muhammad we can know about through history) was psychologically unstable, brutal towards his enemies, and, according to some, sexually perverted. This isn’t to say that Muhammad was all bad. He wasn’t, and Mawdudi is correct in maintaining that Muhammad’s character played a role in converting people to Islam. Even so, while Muhammad may have had many redeeming features, some of his less admirable characteristics are difficult to ignore. Consider the following facts about the life of Muhammad, which can be gathered from the reports of his earliest followers:

Fact #1: When Muhammad began receiving his revelations, his first impression was that he was possessed by demons. The "angel" who appeared to Muhammad choked him almost to the point of death. Muhammad concluded that he was demon-possessed and quickly became suicidal.[5] This wasn’t the first time a person thought that Muhammad was under demonic influence, however. Ibn Ishaq tells us that Muhammad’s childhood nurse also believed that he was demon-possessed.[6] Thus, both the woman who raised him and Muhammad himself held (if only for a short time) that he was possessed by demons. Further, throughout his life, Muhammad believed that he was the victim of magic spells cast by his enemies, who were somehow able to torment God’s chosen prophet through their incantations:
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: Magic was worked on Allah’s Apostle (may the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) so that he used to think that he had had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not. Then one day he said, "O Aisha, do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other: ‘What is wrong with this man?’ The latter replied, ‘He is under the effect of magic.’ The first one asked, ‘Who has worked magic on him?’ The other replied, ‘Labid bin Al-Asam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.’ The first one asked, ‘What material did he use?’ The other replied, ‘A comb and the hair stuck to it.’"[7]
(For more on Muhammad, magic, and demons, see "The Bewitched Prophet.")

Fact #2: Muhammad supported his fledgling religion by robbing people. The early Muslims could have maintained Islam through hard work, frugal spending, and the donations of admirers. Yet Muhammad chose robbery as his chief source of income, and greed soon became one of the primary factors in people’s rapid conversion to Islam. Indeed, Muhammad deliberately used the spoils of war to lure people to Islam. When he was criticized for the way he distributed his newfound wealth, he replied, "Are you disturbed in mind because of the good things of this life by which I win over a people that they may become Muslims while I entrust you to your Islam?"[8] Given the prospect of untold riches, it’s no wonder so many people committed themselves to Islam. Muhammad guaranteed that Allah "will admit the Struggler in His cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty."[9] This message must have sounded extraordinary to the poor of Arabia. If they died in the cause of Allah, they would go to Paradise and be rich. If they survived, they would plunder their enemies and be rich. Either way, their situation would be much better upon embracing Islam.
(For more on Muhammad’s use of riches to win converts, see "Don’t Lose Your Head!")

Fact #3: Muhammad was often ruthless towards his adversaries. Punishments for taking a stand against Muhammad included torture and death. Both men and women were brutally killed for criticizing Muhammad.[10] Hundreds of Jewish men were beheaded for standing against him, while their wives and children were sold into slavery.[11] Some early Muslims who apostatized were killed after Muhammad gave the command to kill all who turn away from Islam.[12] Modern Muslims often claim that Muhammad only killed when he was attacked by his enemies, but history shows that he murdered numerous people whose only crime was writing poems against him.[13] Given the facts, it’s difficult to understand how Muslim writers such as Mawdudi could have the audacity to claim that Muhammad "never took revenge on anyone for his personal grievances."
(For more on Muhammad’s brutality, see "Murdered by Muhammad.")

Fact #4: Muhammad had far more wives than even his own revelations allowed. The Qur’an allows Muslims to have up to four wives: "And if you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you cannot deal justly (with so many), then one only, or (the captives) that your right hands possess" (4:3). We know that Muhammad had at least thirteen wives during his life, and that he had at least nine wives at one time. Of course, he did receive a Qur’anic revelation telling him that he alone could exceed the four-wife limit: "O Prophet! We have made lawful unto you your wives whom you have paid their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses of those whom Allah has given as spoils of war, . . . a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) believers" (33:50). Nevertheless, since Muhammad was the one receiving revelations that allowed him to transgress rules that applied to everyone else, many people have concluded that he was inventing revelations to justify his hypocritical behavior.
(For more on Muhammad’s wives, see "Why Did Mohammed Get So Many Wives?")

Fact #5: Muhammad consummated a marriage to a nine-year-old girl. Muhammad’s courtship of Aisha began when she was only six.[14] Muhammad had a dream about her, which led him to believe that God wanted him to marry the young girl.[15] Fortunately, Muhammad didn’t have sex with her until she reached menses at the age of nine. (Most girls do not have their first period by this age, but Aisha had been suffering from some form of intense sickness, which probably induced menses early.) Muhammad apparently took Aisha’s first menstruation as a sign that she was an adult ready for sexual relations, and Aisha quickly became his favorite wife. Among her earliest duties as Muhammad’s wife was the task of washing semen stains off his clothes: "Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them."[16]
(For more on Muhammad’s relationship with Aisha, see "Was Muhammad a Pedophile?")

Fact #6: Muhammad had a contemptible opinion of women. Muslim apologists often argue that Muhammad raised the status of women, and they are entirely correct in saying this. However, the status to which he raised them is almost as shameful as their status in pre-Islamic Arabia. According to Muhammad, women’s minds are so deficient that the testimony of a woman is worth only half that of a man.[17] Given this lack of intellectual ability, women have to be kept under control by other means. Thus the Qur’an sanctions the beating of women: "As for those [women] from whom you fear disloyalty, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and beat them (lightly, without visible injury). Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them" (4:34). Notice the parenthetical remarks that the beating should be a light one. These words do not occur in the Arabic; apparently, even Muslim translators have a problem with this verse and do what they can to water it down. Notice also that the beating is done to bring the wives into submission. Muhammad repeatedly warned women about disrespecting their husbands: "The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ‘I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were thankless.’"[18] Hell, then, is composed primarily of ungrateful women (perhaps their husbands hadn’t beaten them enough). However, even Heaven is a bleak prospect for women, for, according to Muhammad, women will spend eternity standing in the corners of Paradise, waiting for the men to come and have sex with them.[19]
(For more on Muhammad’s opinion of women, see "Banish Them to Their Beds and Scourge Them!")

Fact #7: Muhammad is unique among prophets in that he is the only one to receive a revelation, proclaim it as part of God’s message to man, and later take it back, claiming that it was actually from Satan. According to the earliest extant biography of Muhammad, he eventually became so sad about his countrymen’s rejection of his prophethood that he began longing for some verses that would bring them to Islam. He soon received what he was looking for—a revelation saying that the intercession of three other gods was acceptable. Muhammad presented the revelation to the people, and his countrymen were overjoyed to hear that they could continue praying to al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat. A mass-conversion to Islam followed, but in time Muhammad received another revelation, which told him that the former verses had been given to him by Satan. God told him not to be too disturbed over the matter, for, according to the new revelation, all prophets occasionally receive ideas from Satan:
The apostle was bitterly grieved and was greatly in fear of God. So God sent down (a revelation), for He was merciful to him, comforting him and making light of the affair and telling him that every prophet and apostle before him desired as he desired and wanted what he wanted and Satan interjected something into his desires as he had on his tongue. So God annulled what Satan had suggested and God established His verses, i.e. you are just like the prophets and apostles. Then God sent down: "We have not sent a prophet or apostle before you but when he longed Satan cast suggestions in his longing. But God will annul what Satan has suggested. Then God will establish his verses, God being knowing and wise."[20]
(For more on this, see "The Bewitched Prophet.")

These are just some of the facts that Muslims have been keeping secret, but they are enough to make any reasonable person doubt the validity of Islam. Muhammad was guilty of countless murders and of torturing his victims. He robbed caravans and participated in the slave-trade. His persecution of the Jews bordered on genocide. His polygamy went beyond that which even his own revelations permitted (though he did receive a revelation saying that this was okay for him). One of his wives was a nine-year-old girl, whose earliest duties in Muhammad’s house included the constant task of washing the semen stains off his clothes. At times he believed he was demon-possessed or under the effect of magic. He was known to be suicidal. He admittedly received a message from Satan and delivered it to the people as if it were from God. He declared that women have half the intellectual ability that men have, that it is okay for men to beat their wives, that most of the inhabitants of hell are women, and that, even if a woman somehow makes it to heaven, her eternity will consist of standing in a corner, waiting for men to sexually enjoy her.[21]

These details about Muhammad raise a very important question: What does a prophet have to do before Muslims will be willing to question whether he is truly the greatest moral example in history? Normally, when we say that someone is a moral person, we mean that he doesn’t commit acts such as robbery and murder. Yet Muhammad did all these things and much more. It appears, then, that Muslims are using the term "moral" in a very unique way. In this uniquely Muslim sense of the term, the word "moral" is defined as "whatever Muhammad does." Thus, if Muhammad were to chop off the heads of hundreds of people (which he did), this act would still be defined as a moral act, since Muhammad did it, and anything Muhammad does is, by definition, moral.

But this raises another important question. If God’s greatest prophet is free to take part in murder, robbery, genocide, and slave-trading, can we really point a finger at people like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and say that they are evil? They killed many innocents, but so did Muhammad. Saddam tortured countless people, but so did Muhammad. In fact, one could make a case that Osama bin Laden is morally superior to Muhammad, for, while bin Laden killed thousands of people, he didn’t sell their wives and children into slavery, or have sex with a little girl, or marry more than a dozen women.

The truth about Muhammad has been one of the world’s best-kept secrets. For centuries, it has been virtually impossible to raise objections about the character of Muhammad in Muslim countries, for anyone who raised such objections would (following the example set by Muhammad himself) immediately be killed. Outside the Muslim world, there has been little interest in Islam, and those who have been interested have typically relied on modern Muslim reports about Muhammad, such as the above passage from Mawdudi. But things have changed. Now many people are interested in Islam, and Muslims aren’t able to silence everyone. Moreover, with the advent of the Internet, it is now impossible to keep Muhammad’s life a secret. The facts about the founder of Islam are spreading very rapidly, and Muslims are frantically scurrying to defend their faith. But the information superhighway is paving over the ignorance that has for centuries been the stronghold of Islamic dogma. In the end, Islam will fall, for the entire structure is built upon the belief that Muhammad was the greatest moral example in history, and this belief is demonstrably false.

This article is a revised version of an essay that originally appeared on

On sources used. I have appealed to several sources for early information about the life of Muhammad. The Life of Muhammad (Ibn Ishaq) is the earliest biography of Muhammad. The Sahih Muslim and the Sahih Al-Bukhari are considered by most Muslims to be the most reliable sources of information about the life of Muhammad. All Qur’an verses are from The Glorious Qur’an translation.
1 Muslims object to having their religion called "Mohammedanism"; however, by "Mohammedanism" I mean only the Islamic beliefs about Muhammad. Thus, the term is appropriate in this context.
2 "The Jaycees" is an organization that helps young people develop various skills for success, in areas such as business development, leadership, and management. The organization places much emphasis on community service.
3 Before anyone misunderstands me here, I must note that I am not comparing Muhammad to John Wayne Gacy. My point is that, if I claim that someone is the greatest moral example ever, I cannot ignore all the details that prove me wrong. If a husband cheats on his wife on Saturday evenings but remains faithful to her the rest of the week, no one would claim that he is an excellent husband because he is faithful to his wife most of the time. A Saturday evening adulterer is still an adulterer. Similarly, when Muslims claim that Muhammad was the greatest of prophets, they cannot simply select the facts that support their view.
4 Abul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam (Islamic Circle of North America, 1986), pp. 52-67.
5 Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, (The Life of Muhammad), A. Guillaume, tr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 106.
6 Ibid., pp. 71-72.
7 Sahih Al Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 5765.
8 Ibn Ishaq, p. 596.
9 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 2787.
10 See, for instance, Ibn Ishaq p. 368 and p. 676.
11 See Ibid., p. 464.
12 See Ibid., pp. 550-551. See also Sahih Al-Bukhari 3017: "[T]he Prophet said: ‘If somebody discards his religion, kill him.’"
13 See, for example, Ibn Ishaq, pp. 675-676, where Asma is murdered in her house for writing a poem against Muhammad. In Ibid., pp. 364-368, Ka’b is murdered for writing poems against Islam. Ibid., pp. 550-551, states that Muhammad gave orders to kill (1) al-Hawayrith for insulting him, (2) a woman named Sara who had once insulted him, and (3) Abdullah’s two singing girls for singing songs about Muhammad. One of the singing girls survived and was given immunity; the others were killed in obedience to Muhammad’s commands.
14 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 3894.
15 Ibid., Number 3895.
16 Ibid., Number 232. See also 229, 230, and 231.
17 See Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, tr., Number 142.
18 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 29.
19 Ibid., Number 4879.
20 Ibn Ishaq, pp. 165-166.
21 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 4879.

Articles by David Wood
Answering Islam Home Page

Islamists murder journalists in Paris

From today's AP report 12 dead in terror attack on Paris paper; manhunt for gunmen, by J. Keaten and L. Hinnant, via Yahoo! News:

"Masked gunmen stormed the offices of a satirical newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest terrorist attack in half a century.

Shouting "Allahu akbar!" as they fired, the men also spoke flawless, unaccented French in the military-style noon-time attack on the weekly paper Charlie Hebdo, located near Paris' Bastille monument. The publication's depictions of Islam have drawn condemnation and threats before — it was firebombed in 2011 — although it also satirized other religions and political figures.

...The attackers forced one of the cartoonists... — at the office with her young daughter — to open the door.

The staff was in an editorial meeting and the gunmen headed straight for the paper's editor, Stephane Charbonnier — widely known by his pen name Charb — killing him and his police bodyguard... Minutes later, two men strolled out to a black car waiting below, calmly firing on a police officer, with one gunman shooting him in the head as he writhed on the ground.

Ten journalists were killed and two police... one of them assigned as Charb's bodyguard and another who had arrived on the scene on a mountain bike.

"Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammed! We killed Charlie Hebdo," one of the men shouted, according to a video filmed from a nearby building and broadcast on French television. Other video images showed two gunmen in black at a crossroads who appeared to fire down one of the streets. A cry of "Allahu akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great"— could be heard among the gunshots.

The gunmen abandoned their car at the northern Porte de Patin and escaped, Paris police said.

Corinne Rey, the cartoonist who said she was forced to let the gunmen in, said the men spoke fluent French and claimed to be from al-Qaida...

World leaders... condemned the attack, but supporters of the militant Islamic State group celebrated the slayings as well-deserved revenge against France.

Both al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have repeatedly threatened to attack France. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the Islamic State's leader giving New Year's wishes. Another cartoon, released in this week's issue and entitled "Still No Attacks in France," had a caricature of a jihadi fighter saying "Just wait — we have until the end of January to present our New Year's wishes."

"This is the darkest day of the history of the French press," said Christophe DeLoire of Reporters Without Borders...

On social media, supporters of militant Islamic groups praised the move

(The article is live-updated, so the text is likely to be different if you follow the above link.)

I am so sorry for the valiant French journalists and policemen who died for the sake of freedom of speech, the cornerstone of civilization.

In a cruelly ironic coincidence, less than a day before the shooting Turkish Islamist president Erdogan lectured EU that it was time to crack down on "Islamophobia". Commenters to this article in a united chorus wrote that "Islamophobia" is a misnomer. In the words of one of them, Michael: "A phobia is an irrational fear. Wasn't there a suicide bombing in Turkey within hours of this speech? Wasn't there a shooting in France hours ago due to satirical cartoon featuring a Muslim? Maybe if we could go a day or two without having Muslims blow up something they dislike, there would be less "Islamophobia"."

To be fair, the suicide bombing mentioned in the comment was done by a supporter not of radical Islam but of another plague of mankind, Marxism. The essence, however, remains true: there is Islamophobia because a tiny but reliably present proportion of Muslims terrorize and murder non-Muslims, as well as fellow Muslims, in the name of Islam.

I am advocating for acceptance of thousands of Muslim refugees fleeing barbaric repression - and even genocide - perpetrated by the Muslim government of their country (Syria), but at the same time I can only hope that the good deed of accepting these asylum seekers will go unpunished.

I didn't want to begin the new year with such a post, but - that's the reality.

Update: According to new reports, the Istanbul suicide bombing initially believed to have been Marxist was Islamist after all!