French Attacks about more than Freedom of Speech

I believe in the right to free speech and my right to express my opinions on this blog and elsewhere. I realize that free speech will also allow some people to express themselves in ways that I or others might find offensive.

I also believe that people have the right to freedom of religion and the right not to be discriminated against. Those last two points have been trampled on by some in France in recent years. For example, in December 2014 three armed men broke into a flat occupied by a Jewish couple. The men tied them up, robbed them, and raped the woman.

These incidents do not get much news coverage. In contrast, I can turn on any news station and see pictures of the murderers of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. Some called them artists, but it is not artistic to belittle other religions through cartoons or any other medium. Regardless, murdering people for drawing tasteless cartoons is wrong.

Charlie Hebdo Shooting Press Coverage Photo by Remi Mathis

Charlie Hebdo Shooting Press Coverage Photo by Remi Mathis

In a country where fear and dislike of people who are different is increasingly common, the killers have only succeeded in making a bad situation worse. Innocent, God-fearing Muslims are much more likely to be mistreated because people will say, “See, Muslims do evil things.”

Some light has been thrown on anti-Semitism in France since the attacks on the kosher supermarket. France’s Prime Minister and others have expressed their shock. But how long will it take before French citizens again turned a blind eye to the less dramatic acts of hatred against Jews and other religious groups?

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