Open Society at a crossroads in France

So much of the whataboutery that we’ve seen in the past few days has been ‘context’ about ‘Insult to Islam as a proxy for attacks on a persecuted and marginalised minority‘.

It is half-of-a-point, and no-one can doubt that perfectly admirable secularist propaganda can also give comfort to people who simply hate Arabs and Asians. In the case of Muslims, it’s has also provided a reasonable reminder that some interpretations of their religion has issues that need to be resolved if it is to co-exist with other faiths in an open society.

I’m very glad to live in a country with an active left which, sometimes, steps onto the wrong side of the line in censoring legitimate ‘offence’ in order to promote integration and solidarity with ethnic and religious minorities. Sometimes you have to err on the side of caution. However, I would now also like to see that left remembering its commitment to free speech and open societies, and to understand just how far these values stand between ourselves and barbarism.

While we’re on the subject of ‘context’, here’s some more. In a country that is more accepting of Muslims than any other in Europe, 40% of hate crimes in France have been directed at Jews who make up 1% of the population. Jews are leaving France in their droves and now, quite sensibly, fear for their lives.

Jews, who had their religion and its clerics mocked as mercilessly by Charlie Hebdo are now having their religious services cancelled by the state on safety grounds. Jewish businesses in Paris have stayed closed today on safety grounds.

Spend a few minutes thinking about this from the perspective of a European Jew. Does it ring any bells?

How would you feel today if you were a Parisian Jew, looking at the newspapers and seeing the deliberate targeting and murder of Jews by Islamists – only the latest in a long line over recent years – who have emerged from a significant, sustainable network that promises more of the same?

Ironically, the likely beneficiaries of this weeks events are likely to be the strengthening Front National with its ancient history of anti-semitism and holocaust denial.

France is at a crossroads and its State and its people – in huge numbers – now needs to decide which side it’s on. An over-reaction is needed. It isn’t just the ‘open society’ and liberal democracy that needs defending now. We’ve slept for too long on that particular watch.

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  • Aaron

    Jewish businesses in Paris have stayed closed today on safety grounds.

    Aren’t they normally closed on a Saturday?

  • ivanpope

    So much of this is contentious. Read the Newsweek article you link to – read to the end where they revise their reporting on the ‘attack’ on the synagogue, an event that had huge impact emotionally worldwide. The synagogue itself says it was never attacked. Look at the emigration from France to Israel: every refrence to it going up says it might be economic reasons and it might be anti-semitism. But nobody actually knows. And realistic fear of anti-semitic attacks, or media perpetrated fear of such attacks? And remember, Israel wants to encourage emigration, its in their interests to increase the flow. Also, France has the largest Jewish population in Europe, nearly half a million, so proportionately the increase is smaller. So if 1% actually does emmigrate to Israel (numbers not confirmed as yet), what does this mean? How many emigrated from Israel to France? Most of Europe has entirely settled Jewish populations with a very consistent flow of Jewish emigration stretching back many decades. So why not come back in five years or so and tell me whether this was a blip, a statistical anomaly or the harbinger of a flood out of Europe. Because Exodus it sure aint. I think there is a huge danger in just jumping in and saying this is the end of everything. Franklly, I don’t think you know much about what’s going on in France at all.

  • aber1991

    I accept that people have a right to be secularists. That does mean that they have a right to indulge in verbal aggression against people of religion – whether their victims be Muslims or Catholics. Nor does anyone have any right to indulge in verbal aggression against anyone else. e.g. non-members of the GAA commenting on the internal affairs of the GAA.

    If the legislators refuse to take steps to protect people of religion from secularist aggression, should anyone be surprised when the victims of the aggression strike back? Many journalists are bullies who use “their right to free speech” to excuse their incitement to hatred of people of religion.

    I think the law needs to be tightened to compel everyone to mind his own business and stop interfering in the internal affairs of organisations of which they are not members. We need a new type of Political Correctness – a correctness based on elementary good manners. e.g. Who is head of the Catholic Church in Ireland is no business of any heretic.

  • Dan

    You are taking the piss….surely?

  • aber1991

    No. I write what I think.

  • Aber, you have now offended my secularist sensibilities. As you can imagine, the only possible arbiter of whether I am offended is myself, and I assure you that you have offended me. Therefore, on your logic, you won’t be surprised if I decide to ‘strike back’ in a proportionate way? Nothing serious, obviously – I think just turning up to your place of work and slaughtering you and any of your collegues should suffice. Am I understanding your argument correctly? 😉

  • Zig70

    They should add ‘drawing pictures of muhammad’ to the excellent Dumb ways to die app. It’s not freedom of speech, open society or any other grandiose gesture, it’s just a knowledge of the world around you. Human’s are a violent lot whether they have religion or not.

  • chrisjones2

    Do you napply that to the OO?

  • chrisjones2

    Nor does anyone have any right to indulge in verbal aggression against anyone else. e.g. non-members of the GAA commenting on the internal affairs of the GAA.

    So now its wrong to comment? What if the GAA discriminates against women? Or is involved in child abuse (which it isn’t but take the example)

    You argument is nonsense

  • chrisjones2

    I shouldn’t boast about that if I was you

  • Zeno

    lol

  • Zeno

    No. I write what I think.

    What makes you think you are right? Is it not just possible you might be talking nonsense? Under your new laws, would the Catholic Church keep its nose out of everyone else’s business?

  • aber1991

    You are a Protestant so you probably might approve of verbal aggression against Catholics. I do not.

  • aber1991

    I do not interfere in the internal affairs of the Orange Order or of any other Protestants. So long as the Orangemen stay well away from me, I will not bother them.

  • aber1991

    The Catholic Church does not interfere in the affairs of other churches. Please do not interfere in our internal affairs. Who is or is not a Catholic bishop is no business of any heretic. The rules and policies of the GAA, IRFU etc are a matter for the members of those organisations.

  • aber1991

    Breaches of the criminal law are matters for the police and the courts and always have been. Who is or is not a Catholic bishop is a matter for Catholics and only Catholics. The policy of the Presbyterian Church on female clergy is a matter for Presbyterians and only Presbyterians. Did any Catholic butt in on that issue?
    The policies of the GAA as to what games are played on its property is a matter for the members of the GAA. Catholic bishops should not butt in. Nor should journalists. Nor should Eire politicians. Nor should officials of the Irish Football Association.
    The policy of the SDLP towards the RUC were a matter for members of the SDLP. Members of the Alliance Party should not have butted in.

  • Zeno

    The Catholic Church and other churches pass judgement on Gays and People who require abortions. The decide who is a sinner and who isn’t whether you are a Catholic or not.
    By your rules, will the churches be stopped pontificating and passing judgement on the rest of us?

  • aber1991

    You might think that non-Catholics have a right to commit aggression against Catholics. I do not.

  • aber1991

    Are you trying to be clever? I did not interfere in your affairs or in the affairs of your religion – if you have one. Please return the compliment.
    In a court of law, the arbiter will be the judge. That is the job of the judge. If the law does not protect people, do not be surprised when the victims strikes back.

  • chrisjones2

    More casual racism and bigotry and I am an athiest by teh way

  • chrisjones2

    No but you criticise them relentlessly

  • aber1991

    I have reason to believe that you are a Protestant atheist. A person who approves of Prod struts near Ardoyne is hardly the right person to whinge about bigotry.

  • Deke Thornton

    I would like to see the Front Nacional do well in France next election. As well as other populist nationalist parties in Europe like PVV, Golden Dawn, Sinn Fein. Pegida, FPOe. UKIP, Northern League etc. They are genuinely drawing support from outside the elites in various states. Islam (submission) is a nasty patriarchal overbearing anti- science philosophy with a violent agenda. It has no place in liberal secular societies. Those who believe in early medieval nonsense can go to those states in the Middle East that still propagate such shite.

  • aber1991

    Only when they try to invade areas in which Catholics reside. If Prods leave me alone, I leave them alone.

  • Zeno

    ” the right person to whinge about bigotry.”

    lol……………… that is hilarious,

  • aber1991

    Does that mean that you approve of Prod struts near Ardoyne?

  • Abucs

    Excluding the last drawing and comment I agree with the cartoonist Joe Sacco.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2015/jan/09/joe-sacco-on-satire-a-response-to-the-attacks

  • chrisjones2

    Who approves of the Proids at Ardoyne? Where did I evber say that? I challenged your casual racism towards the OO in particular while making it clear I thought many of them were nutters

    I remain unsure wethere you are just misguided and foolish or a malicious troll.

  • chrisjones2

    But what about shared areas?

  • chrisjones2

    “Does that mean that you approve ”

    On your own ‘analysis’ above that is none of your business

  • chrisjones2

    “a Protestant atheist”

    How ridiculous can you get. And by the way thats a breach of my human rights.

  • aber1991

    As you have insinuated that I might be a troll, I will not waste time in exchanges with you.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Deke – you’ve maybe stated it a bit too bluntly even for me but I agree with your general theme. Islam is a medieval religion trying to exist in the current day and failing. However the opening piece with regard to the Jewish angle also troubles me. The victims of this week were the French and their liberalist views. Sometimes you just cannot integrate folks into your country belief system and you get two druggie, scumbag, loser brothers taking up arms because they have been convinced their sad existence will only be validated by killing for Allah. The shite posted above aber1991 should not even have risen to. We should remember the people that have lost their lives this week and question the religious angle that spawned them and the country politic that facilitated their actions. Long live the socialist PC brigade that prevents you from asking the hard questions – religious, ethnicity, class etc.

  • Redstar

    So the great and the good are attending Paris today to show their horror disgust and revulsion at the slaughter of innocents . Amongst them will be Israel’s leader

  • chrisjones2

    Ah….poor boy ……get teddy out of the corner now and give him a hug ……..

  • Kevin Breslin

    Do I need to quote Richard Dawkins here who confessed that Islamic society has contributed majority to Medieval science particularly the foundations of mathematics, medicine and chemistry?

    Does Al-Jibra and Al-Kemi sound familiar? Without the mathematics of natural philosophy or the experimentation of the early alchemists of the Medieval age those who boast of progress made without Arab and Persian people are in denial of many of the determining studies that have advanced medieval science out of the cage. The western numbering system is mid-oriental not European.

    Those who are committing violence in the Middle East including the Israelis are pro-science, otherwise how would they have the technology to fight wars?

  • Kevin Breslin

    You could also look at the 1979 Nobel Physics Prize winners for discovering the theory that explains the unification of the electromagnetic fundamental force with the weak nuclear fundamental force. One Pakistani Muslim shared the prize with two Americans who came from a Jewish background. Science is an open society, it’s foolish for people to claim it as something that belongs to a particular group, when it’s arguably humanity’s strongest multiculture.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    What’s your point Kevin? Are you trying to associate the fact that someone wins a Nobel Peace price as a function of the fact that they are Muslim? There’s no association. The Nazi’s gave us some of the greatest medical advances of the 20th century. Do you want to go out and join their club? Radical Islam is spawning terror throughout the world and moderate Islam no longer sets the agenda. We have to face the fact that radical Islam propagates and preaches terror and death to all kafirs. Nobel Peace prizes and the musings of Richard Dawkins don’t matter a crap when people the world over are being put to the Islamic sword for some sort of medieval interpretation of religion.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Should he not be there to show some sort of solidarity for the French dead? Should he be shunned to facilitate a Palistinian point of view? These bullshit associations facilitate the poorly thought out hate that drives extremism and partially seeks to validate the actions of religious murderers like the

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Kouachi brothers

  • Redstar

    I thought the rally was to show justified disgust at the vile slaughter of innocents by religious inspired zealots. That being the case it sure is galling to see Israels leader there.

  • ted hagan

    They were invited to attend, which can only be a good thing

  • ted hagan

    The fact is that anti-Semitic attacks are increasing throughout Europe. The numbers leaving France doubled over the past 12 months. I mean let’s face it, Europe’s record on anti-semitism has been appalling and with the rise of the right in France, the threat not only comes from Islamists..

  • Sergiogiorgio

    You keep making those associations Redstar and I’ll leave others to interpret your cack handed justifications. As Ted says their attendance makes a positive gesture. Their absence/exclusion gives radical Islam exactly what it wants.

  • Redstar

    I almost pity the hypocritically blind who do not see the nauseating sight of someone who represents decades of daily Paris style slaughters of the innocents- fronting this rally today.

    Then again, all lives are not worth the same.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Just as I pity those that try to make cheap, political points during a day of true mourning.

  • Redstar

    You make my point for me by defending a man and a criminal regime responsible for numerous ” Paris slaughters”.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    You don’t need me to make “your point”. It’s abuntdantly clear from your posts. Think on…

  • Kevin Breslin

    Firstly, I would like to recorrect you, it was the Nobel Physics Prize not Peace Prize. There are plenty of scientists from the Middle East across a range of disciplines. Your overbearing anti-science remarks seem far off. As for patriarchal, it’s interesting to note that the majority of science graduates in this part of the world are female.

    You had said that Islam was anti-Science, it’s not anti-science, neither was National Socialism. That’s not apologetics, it is clearly fact with clear evidence of the fact. As long as you work hard and make discoveries under the scientific method you don’t have to be anything else to be a scientist.

    You’ll find patriarchal attitudes across the world, there’s no evidence to suggest many non-religious countries like the Czech Republic are less patriarchial than the rest of Europe.

    Thirdly liberal secular societies are tolerant of Islam, that’s why they are liberal not authoritarian secular societies. France is a clear example of this.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I think you have me confused with Zeke. My “agenda” isn’t anti-science. Frankly I don’t give a stuff about any association, perceived or otherwise, between Islam and science. What I’m exercised about is ongoing murder of people by radical Islam. Any association to science is fatuous.

  • barnshee

    T”he policies of the GAA as to what games are played on its property is a matter for the members of the GAA”

    Good on them
    now get them and all the other sports bodies as far away from the taxpayers money pot as possible

  • chrisjones2

    Oh dear we seem to have frightened him away to the backwaters of the Irish Examiner where he can spew his bile without challenge. Bless

  • aber1991

    I agree with you and it is not often that I agree with you about anything. [I admit that I have other motives. I want to keep in with you in the hope that you will tell me more about your experiences teaching in the State school in East Belfast which had Catholic students. I am sure that you will have tales to tell.]
    People who have no interest in sport should not have to subsidise the pleasures of those who do. [I acknowledge that organised sport is part of the law and order apparatus of any society.]