Prophet Mohammed: religious and military leader born about 570 in Mecca followed by a long period of successful victories that went from Spain to the whole Middle East. A historical figure that belongs to mankind. Therefore, in those countries where freedom of expression has been achieved, he can be represented as people want even when the Sunni can not represent his image.
The right to representation: To represent a thing or a person is a founding element of language. To question the right to represent something would mean censuring most of our works of art. The representation, which sets a distance between a figure and reality, allows keeping a relationship with it instead of accepting it in a passive manner. It’s in this relationship established with reality that human freedom is expressed. If it does not exist, only the reproduction and survival instincts would reign and we’d never have time or we’d not even think about improving our human condition.
Historical outline: When the great Reich asked the small kingdom of Denmark to hand the Jews in, the Danish refused to do it and the Nazis gave up. With fascists, the collective “no” is always effective. Democracy, on its side, should keep its fears away and refuse to give the basic principles of his foundation up.
WWIII: “If the caricatures were to be censured to avoid WWIII, its publication would be absurd.” Argument not valid. If WWIII is to break out, it would break out anyway. Not publishing the caricatures would be interpreted by totalitarian religious men as an stimulating victory that would hasten the next crisis. The “Munich Agreements” are a reference.
The bomb in the turban: Fortunately, the caricatures are not good and this keep the aesthetic value out of the debate to then focus on the freedom of expression issue. When a journalist is taken as hostage, nothing is said about the quality of his job; the same with Capitan Dreyfus, whether he was nice or not, it didn’t matter. A part of the Left, led by Jules Guesde, decided not to support him and let the “bourgeois deal with their own problems.” Jaurès decided to defend an innocent accused of being a Jew. With regard to the caricature that represents Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, it can be interpreted in different ways by everybody. The crime depends on who watches the caricature. It does not represent Islam but the view of Islam and the prophet offered by the Muslim terrorist groups who affirm that the prophet inspires them to kill and launch attacks.
Freedom of expression: Even when it’s a fact in democracies, it’s stated by the laws. Defamation, racism, insult to other people are to be dealt with the courts of the Republic. Charlie Hebdo has been regularly attacked by the extremist Christians and we have won the trials. Important precision: the laws that make the framework of this freedom protect people, not myths.
Amalgam: Renovated concept by the Iran of the mullahs to identify all criticism against Islam with racism. The amalgam between racism and criticism against religion is, more or less, as coherent as the amalgam between criticism against fascism and anti-Iberic racism were during Franco’s times.
Taboo: All religions have taboos. It’s impossible to live respecting all of them. The taboos concern all the followers of an specific religion.
Racism: Racism is expressed when what’s reproached to a member of a community is reproached to the whole community. When a Danish caricaturist caricatures Mohammed and Danish people start to be chased in the Middle East, we’re dealing with a racist phenomenon similar to that of the pogroms and the brutality exerted against the ethnic groups.
- Victims: The main victims of Islamism are the citizens of the Muslim countries. The example of Algeria should help us with our ideas.
Immobility: Fundamentalist religious men think that what’s sacred is sacred for eternity, that God does not know change. Absurd. History shows that dogmas evolve and religions appear and disappear. We live in a perpetual movement of things and in an eternal debate between those who don’t want things to change and those who accept the incessant evolution of life to organize it better.

Charlie Hebdo (France)
Charlie Hebdo is a weekly reference for part of the French radical Left. Launched in 1992 by Philippe Val, it can be proud of its affiliation with Hara-Kiri and Charlie, satirical magazines of the 60s and the 70s. Anarchist and anti-religious at the beginning, it gradually evolved and adopted a more atlantist tone and, systematically, has criticized the Arab or Muslim populations.

“Petit glossaire d’une semaine caricaturale”, by Philippe Val, Charlie Hebdo, February 8, 2006.