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Western freedoms

Years from now, we may see the firebombing of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as another definite confirmation of a trend: the surrender of free speech to religious fanatics bent on literally burning down the secular state. Or we may see this event as a turning point, as European police and politicians enforce their laws -- and their freedoms.

A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover.


This week's edition shows a cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter." It has the headline "Charia Hebdo," in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and says Mohammad guest-edited the issue.

Charlie Hebdo's website on Wednesday appeared to have been hacked and briefly showed images of a mosque with the message "no God but Allah," after which the site was blanked.

Some critics have called Charlie Hebdo's sharia-focused satire provocative. Of course, it was. Satire must be provocative or else it is not satire. Unfailingly, Islamists don't get satire because human freedom, particularly the freedom to criticize, is alien to an...More >>


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