Media criticize Charlie Hebdo for asking a question everyone should ask

Why are there no churches anywhere in Saudi Arabia? Ask yourself how many mosques there are in the United States.

Je suis Charlie Hebdo / Image: Fede Falces, used under Flickr Creative Commons license
Je suis Charlie Hebdo / Image: Fede Falces, used under Flickr Creative Commons license

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, April 12, 2016 –Remember the pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel walking through the streets of Paris arm-in-arm with other world leaders in a show of solidarity against the murderous terror attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo?

At the time it appeared the West had finally had enough and something was at long last going to be done to demonstrate to ISIS and other Islamic jihadist groups that this time they had gone too far.

So much for solidarity.

Other attacks have followed, and the status pretty much remains quo as far as Western Europe and the U.S. are concerned.

In response, Charlie Hebdo recently published an editorial that has received widespread and harsh criticism for asking the simple question how Europe has become such a center of hatred for European-born Muslims to reject their own culture in favor of Islam.

Writing in the Federalist, M.G. Oprea responded to the negative reaction by publications such as the Washington Post, which “blames extremism on individual Muslims – the veiled woman on the street, the man selling kebabs,” etc.

Says Oprea, “this, and other critiques, miss the larger point of the article, which is to demonstrate the gradual and quotidian way in which criticizing Islam has been silenced.”

She then goes on to use the example of Tariq Ramadan, a teacher who specializes in Islam and represents himself as being above the fray concerning his faith and how the world responds to it. By coming across as “reasoned” and “intellectual,” Ramadan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is a phony. He is little more than a façade who makes his way into the debate much the same as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton stirs racial emotions at certain times.

As Charlie Hebdo explained Ramadan’s role, “His task, under cover of debate, is to dissuade people from criticizing his religion in any way. The political science students who listened to him last week will, once they have become journalists or local officials, not ever dare to write nor say anything negative about Islam.”

Sound familiar?

Ramadan’s task is an arduous journey. It takes time. It cannot be done overnight. But that is where the West gets derailed because Islam has been fighting this battle without altering its course for centuries. Time is on their side. They are patient. The West is not. Eventually patience will erode any resistance that might have existed in the past and the West will ultimately yield.

Writes Oprea, “The Charlie Hebdo editorial correctly points out that in Europe the dominant liberal culture has pounded into us that we must adapt to Muslims who come to our country, and never ask them to adapt to any of our ways.”

That is NOT the way it is supposed to work. But when Americans get on their “high horse,” as Barack Obama likes to say, and someone questions why Westerners should adjust to Muslim mores in their own country, the politically correct reply always wins out.

Oprea then provides the perfect squelch for liberal publications such as the the Washington Post, which only demonstrates its complete ignorance of the subject by digressing to totally irrelevant arguments.

“Asking immigrants to assimilate doesn’t mean white-washing their culture and religion, asking them not to wear the hijab, or demanding that they eat pork,” says Oprea. “But it does mean asking them to accept, to some degree, the culture of the country to which they have willingly moved. These are things like women’s rights, tolerance, free speech, or criticism of religion. It also means not having to apologize for having a culture of one’s own.”

How often have Westerners been chastised by Muslims for burning a Koran? Do we ever hear about the Bibles that are thrown in the trash the moment they are found in Saudi Arabia?

Why are there no churches anywhere in Saudi Arabia? Ask yourself how many mosques there are in the United States.

The process is a gradual one. At times it is almost imperceptible. It must be that way in order for it to succeed. Suddenly one day the West will look up and ask, as Charlie Hebdo has, “what happened?” And nobody will know the answer because it was almost subliminal.

As M.G. Oprea writes, “Europe has slowly let this happen year by year, decade by decade, like a frog in a pot slowly brought to a boil.”

But then again, that’s what we get for being on our “high horse.”

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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