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Here's a Thought with Charles Shaughnessy for January 15th & January 22nd! Yeah . . two weeks of shows!

Thursday, January 15th
 "Here's a Thought with Charles Shaughnessy" will finally have our part two show with Oriah Mirza.  

If you want to refresh your memory with the discussion you all had before the show, go back and read the blog & the comments from December 16, 2014  or watch the first show in the archives here at this link.

In addition to the discussion on the show, we will be addressing the rest of your questions that we didn't get to & taking your phone calls.  

And for next week's show . . please read . . .

We do not want you to think that we are ignoring what is going on in the world & especially in Paris because we are not discussing it on tomorrow's show.   What happened in Paris recently illustrates, once again, how serious is the threat of extremist violence anywhere in the world. It also initiated a number of important conversations about freedom of speech, respect, blasphemy, belief and morality. On our LIVE show on Thursday, January 22nd we will be talking about the repercussions of "Charlie Hebdo" and where these important conversations go next. 

PLEASE use the comments section on the blog here to post your thoughts, concerns, feelings & questions & to discuss with each other. This will be what we talk about next week Thursday January 22nd on "Here's a Thought with Charles Shaughnessy" on 

You will have all week to post your feelings, concerns, comments, questions & beliefs here & on twitter.  If you can, tweet to me at @C_Shaughnessy on Twitter. Just use Hashtag #Jan22

You can watch the live show on the internet at 3 pm PT on but if you cannot because of prior commitments or time constraints, be sure and post here or tweet to me so we can include your thoughts too, then watch the show in the archives later on that day.

For any other questions or concerns, you can tweet my producer at @janelleglickman on twitter.  


  1. Commencons avec la question evidente: et vous, etes-vous charlie?

  2. good idea talking funny how I thinking about paris i was that myself we think alike i am myself worry about the future really scary now it not good here to in S FLA with so much killing robbing and others good not talking of this now I agree .

  3. I'm really concerned about the situation that resulted from Je Suis Charlie and the attack of terrorism that happened as a result from this incident.It is still very unsettling over there! What are your thought on this Charlie and what positive advice do you wish you could pass on to others about how to handle this individually to show our support in love regarding this?!

  4. Looking forward to hearing people's opinions. Should be an interesting show!

  5. Beyond Paris--can we also talk about what Boko Haram did in Nigeria? It seems like people have already forgotten about the 200+ school girls kidnapped by them last April (remember "Bring Back Our Girls"?), and the recent slaughter in northeastern Nigeria was pushed to the back burner or overlooked because of what happened with Charlie Hebdo. Why do you think the media have chosen to focus on what happened in Paris instead of Nigeria? Is Boko Haram last year's news, even though their reign of terror hasn't stopped? After all, both incidents occurred because of the actions of militant followers of Islam.

    1. Many of my friends in Africa were saying this very thing Karen. Of course, the slaughter of a great many innocent people was bigger news for them than it was here, but I am interested to hear what others think the reason is that it wasn't front page news in the west. Perhaps one reason is because the attack on Charlie Hebdo was an attack on free speech. I don't know! I just know both attacks were horrendous!

    2. Sharon. talking about freedom of speech, Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi was calling for a free political debate in his country. he was arrested 2 years ago and lately was senteced to 20 years in prison plus 1000 (!) lashes which he gets 50 each friday. started last friday. did you read about that in western newspapers? no? so it's not about free speech. I'm afraid it's about geography...

    3. Galit, I think you are right! It is definitely more about Geography. Having come from Africa, I learned a long time ago that Africa was, for the most part, the forgotten continent!

  6. "Hey Jude"! (Haha! :-p)
    Love the fact you've written in french! C'est une question très pertinente que tu as choisie de poser! :-D

    Hi everyone!
    I have posted 2 comments (January 7th and 8th) about the terrorist attack against "Charlie Hebdo" on the precedent blog about the RFK Children's Action Corp... I've written them before the other murders by the same people the day after againts a policewoman and jews at a Kosher Supermarket...
    Then I've posted some thoughts here and there...
    These are only my thoughts... I am no specialist of philosophical, sociological or theological questions, just a 43 yo average french woman ;-)

    But indeed I believe that what happened in France concerns us worldwide and as Charles and Janelle say : "What happened in Paris recently illustrates, once again, how serious is the threat of extremist violence anywhere in the world. It also initiated a number of important conversations about freedom of speech, respect, blasphemy, belief and morality"...

    The radicalization or possible radicalization of some of the youth in France (like the 3 who killed these 17 persons in Paris) is due to many factors and will be tough to fight.
    If you are interested to understand a little bit how this young people of Muslim heritage -but born in France- often living in the poor suburbs of big cities, don't feel part of the Republic and its Values, please read this good article from the Washington Post :

    About the freedom of speech in France, I would like to say that it isn't 100% free but limited by the law : you can be punished for defamation or for example if you insult, or incite racial hatred, or do an apology for terrorism.
    It defends the individual and its integrity, not concepts. There is no punishment for blasphemy. It is because of our strong secularism ("laïcité à la française").

    The cartoonists and journalists from "Charlie Hebdo" and many other french humorists or thinkers are anti-clerical or animated by the will to fight againts any obscurantism of any religion... and claim to have the right to laugh about anything (within the framework of the law) esp. religion, when it drifts towards extremism.
    Here is a very interesting article from the NYTimes about this french particularity of satire :

    PS: because I have problems to express myself in english, these 2 US articles are convenient for me! :-D

    I will surely come back here before the show jan. 22th to discuss more about these subjects and other related (I agree with Karen).

    Have a nice show with Oriah today!

    1. Nadia, I just wanted to let you know that I think you do a great job expressing yourself in English! <3

    2. Yes Nadia! I second Tracy! Your English is really good! You are amazing!!

  7. My question is about the arrest of the French comedian Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who was arrested and held for questioning after seemingly having said he supported the terrorists. Though I totally disagree with him and think, to say what he said so close to the attack was senseless and heartless, my question is, do you think he has the same right to say what he did, as the cartoonists had to publish their magazine? Or are the government right to arrest him?

  8. Wow! Just posted this and you brought it up on the show this week!
    Also, thank you for bringing up the troubles in Nigeria! It certainly seems that things that happen in Africa do not always get the attention they deserve in the West.
    Looking forward to the show next week!

  9. Charlie,thank-you so much today for addressing a preview of a lot of what our concerns are and for speaking the truth.I am still concern about a lot of the threats of the same terrorist groups possibly attacking other countries in the same way the attacked even Belgium,just today.I am so pissed off that noone feels the can find a way to stop this group.Even if the government knows who they are why we aren't doing something to stop these morons.And that's what I call these terrorist-MORONS!

  10. As I think of terrible events in and surrounding the attack in Paris, I find myself caught between a number of thoughts and emotions. First, as has been mentioned here as well as on the show today, I find myself thinking about what it means to have a true freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a right that Americans take as a fundamental part of who we are and what the country stands for. But what we don't take into account is the fact that freedom of speech does not simply mean that we are allowed to say whatever we want whenever we want. Freedom of speech, however, is not a license to verbal anarchy, but an offering of the ability to express opinions with regards to the things that are going on around us. The right of freedom of speech comes with a very serious responsibility in the use of that freedom. This is the responsibility to consider the consequences of what we say as well as the way that we say it. Now, this is not to say that anyone could have predicted the attack as a consequence of the things that Charlie Hebdo has published, rather that there are lines that our freedom of speech should not cross. A major part of the responsibility in the exercise of freedom of speech is the need to respect the safety, rights and beliefs held by those whom that speech affects. In my opinion, this is where Charilie Hebdo has failed because, as much as I can appreciate the ability to laugh at anything, there is a difference between being humorous and being outright disrespectful. This in no way means that I condone the extremist violence in any way. My question about this: how can we maintain a freedom of speech while staying true to the social responsibility that accompanies it? How can we exercise that freedom of speech that allows us to progress and develop as a society and still maintain a sufficient amount of respect to all members of the society, even those with whom that freedom of speech allows us to disagree?

  11. I have so much to say about this topic. I'll try to squeeze my thoughts to two long remarks:
    1. The denial –it's a trend now not to mention Islamic extremists. What's the point? Doesn't everyone see the connection between Charlie Hebdo and today the almost terror attack in Belgium and 9/11, Madrid 2004, Mumbai 2008?Boko Haram in Nigeria? ISIS? Al-Qaida? Jabhat Alnusra in Syria? Hamas in Gaza? Hezbollah in Lebanon? ? Am I the little kid from "the Emperor's New Clothes"? I don't think so!
    I don't think that by eliminating this factor we help the world become a better place. I believe that the first step in tackling a problem is to recognize what it is. For example, I do expect the majority of the Muslims in the world to raze their voices louder and clearer against these phenomena. Instead we saw on TV celebrations in Lebanon and in Gaza, just like we saw after 9/11. This week it became such a trend to "be Charlie" that for the first time some Muslim leaders condemned it. Where were they in the last 20 years of Islamic terror? I believe that when an Imam identifies extremists tendencies in his congregation he must deal with it and not leave those so easy to be influenced youngsters to fanatics that wash their brains. To avoid mentioning that the problem starts in the mosques is sticking the head in the mud. Of course I don't mean to name and shame all Muslims, definitely not! I live in a mixed society and I have neighbors, colleagues and friends who are Muslim Arabs and they are good people. I'm talking about identifying the source, recognizing it with courage, educating people and condemning from within. Exactly as I would expect (as secular as I am) every Rabbi in the world to stand up and condemn – shouting, if god forbid a Jew will decide to kill on behalf of Judaism..
    2. The ignored factor - The terror attacks in Paris highlighted the ongoing and increasing old new European Anti-Semitism that must not be ignored. Though the main target was Charlie, the Jewish store was a "natural" target for Coulibaly when he decided to claim the release of the brothers who murdered the cartoonists. Regarding Dieudonne and his right for freedom of speech, what he said was in fact that he is sorry for the murder in Charlie Hebdo but he supports the killer of the Jews in the kosher grocery ("Je suis Charlie Coulibaly"). He is a public figure who expresses his anti-Semitic opinions freely including using the quenelle gesture in his shows, which is forbidden in France, and influences many young people. Is he entitled for full freedom of speech, even when it might lead to another attack?
    The attack on the Kosher grocery is only one more in tens of terror attacks on Jewish targets in France in the last year that somehow stayed under the radar. "lucky" enough this last attack was a direct continuation of the Charlie Hebdo so it couldn't be ignored. The murder of children in the Jewish school in Toulouse 2 years ago, the murder of 4 victims in the Jewish museum in Brussels last March and many more, these are all connected to this trend, this kind of combination of fanatic Islamists attacking whatever represents the west together with Jew hate (sometimes with lame excuse on Israel's policy).
    The bottom line is that after last week's events more than 50% (!) of the largest Jewish community in Europe (about half a million) now thinking of leaving France. And the same goes in Sweden, Belgium and other European countries were Jews were an integrated part of society for centuries. Not to mention the connotation we have of Jews again being slaughtered on European soil just for being Jews..
    I have so much more to say – but I will leave some space to others. I'm sure it's going to be a fascinating show. Thank you for letting me express my opinion and Good luck!

    1. " Doesn't everyone see the connection between Charlie Hebdo and today the almost terror attack in Belgium and 9/11, Madrid 2004, Mumbai 2008?Boko Haram in Nigeria? ISIS? Al-Qaida? Jabhat Alnusra in Syria? Hamas in Gaza? Hezbollah in Lebanon? ? Am I the little kid from "the Emperor's New Clothes"? I don't think so! "

      Oh no, Galit, you are not the only one! Many of us "on the right" in the US have been trying to say this for a long time, and it wasn't politically correct or "tolerant" to do so. Only in the last week, when the media itself was the target, has the language changed(and then only a little bit). It's like the media's eyes were opened and they said "wait! This is unacceptable!!!", to which we say "Finally!". It is so wonderful to have you here as part of the discussion, when you have lived with this enemy on a daily basis. You have so much to offer.

    2. Gailit, I agree with you completly, that the majority of the Muslims in the world need to do more, when it comes to the radical Islamists. They have the power to stop many problems before they get out of hand!

  12. I have seen the archives of yesterday's show... and read the comments here ;-)

    Dear Sharon and Charlie, please forgive me but I am sorry to tell you that you're wrong about Dieudonné!

    Mr M'Bala M'Bala is somebody who doesn't hide his real/personal thoughts about many subjects and they aren't republican, believe me!
    You could be right, I understand what you want to say about his freedom of speech, but obviously you haven't seen his shows or read his publications...

    The french humorist who was so funny formerly and pretty committed in a sincere fight against discrimination has done a sort of "coming out" now since 10 years : being a longtime left-wing activist fighting -as I said- for equality, he has little by little switched and is now since the year 2000 very close to extrem right political groups.

    Many many many times sentenced for anti-semitic comments (even negationism/revisionism) and incitement to racial hatred, he is using any situation of fight for freedom of speech to defend himself (and the many french people who are sadly following him) to think and say what he means.
    But the big difference with the repeated blasphemys of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons (not only about the Prophet but also about all religions) and his points of view is THE LAW : one is punished in France, the other not.

    So yes, this time maybe the government was a little bit prompt and quick to sentenced him for writing "Iam CharlieCoulibaly", but it is because of the special context in which he is expressing himself constantly since more than 10 years, always clearly pointing the same scapegoats/victims : esp. the jews' supposedly conspiration and the french islamophobia, and calling to resist to all that by any means...

    PS : yes the french medias have been talking about Nigeria and Boko Haram and the iranian blogger but I will come back later to share my thoughts with you all as soon as I have some more minutes to write here ;-)

  13. It is so interesting to have both a French and Israeli citizen participating in a blog on this subject!! It really adds so much to the conversation. As usual, Becky said a lot of what I was going to say. With freedom comes responsibility, and innocent lives were taken for what? A cartoon? The artist and the editor knew they were taking a risk, they knew it was a snake when they picked it up. The others were collateral damage, and I think that was irresponsible. That said, then is it also not "disrespectful" to make a Broadway musical mocking Mormon beliefs? How about putting a crucifix in a jar of urine or smearing a statue of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung and calling it "art"? The Catholics and other Christians who peacefully protested and boycotted that "artwork" were called intolerant, accused of trying to suppress free speech, and basically told to "suck it up, buttercup." Now, we are all starting to question whether it is right to insult a religion? Let's just admit the truth here. Mormons are not calling for the heads of the scriptwriters and producers, they are not bombing a crowded theatre. Christians did not kill the "artists" or set fire to the museum. These aren't Hindus or Buddhists or Wiccans or Druids. The problem isn't "defaming a prophet", the problem is radical Islam. And it's not just impoverished, hopeless young men living in squalor in some desert hellhole. The terrorists in France were educated citizens. The Tsarnaev brothers were raised with American luxuries and a taxpayer funded education. The Fort Hood shooter was a American citizen, with a free medical education paid for by the US Army. The 9/11 hijackers were highly educated. We have young people from all over the world traveling to Yemen for training. And those are just off the top of my head, I'm sure there are many more. "Cutting this off at the source" is becoming a lot more complicated.

    1. I definitely agree that it's good to have people from different countries and cultures contributing to and furthering the conversation.
      Extremists exist in every religion, not just Islam. The problem comes when that extremism turns into violence. Throughout history, there have been radicals from every religion who have turned to violence for one reason or another. Right now, yes, it is radical Muslims who are exacting the violence, but we cannot say that they are the only ones who do. Examples of radical violence can be found for every major religion throughout the history of the world. But there are also multiple examples of using peaceful methods to express a discontent with the disrespectful, blasphemous and inappropriate actions of others from every religion as well. You have some great examples of some of the non-violent ways to express disapproval of disrespectful and blasphemous "art"; they definitely show that it is possible to disagree with something regarding someone's depictions of religions without resorting to violence. But going back to the idea of there being radicals and extremists of every religion resorting to violence, as a Mormon, I can say that, when the Broadway musical mocking our beliefs was originally produced, I knew some people who were outraged by the idea and who were almost ready to pick a fight with anyone who disagreed with that outrage over something that falls under the freedom of speech blanket. I have also heard a variety of stories about Mormons who have resorted to getting into fights in the name of defending the things that we find sacred- every couple of years we hear the story of someone here in Salt Lake City who felt compelled to get into a physical altercation with someone protesting our semi-annual church General Conference. And it usually happens when someone participating in the protests starts saying or doing things that directly and openly mock the things that we hold sacred. As Charlie mentioned in the show, it’s because that person feels that they are justified in God’s eyes to do whatever it takes to defend our religion, despite the fact that the Church teaches specifically that we are to seek peaceful ways to resolve conflicts before resorting to violence, as does every major religion worldwide. I’m not saying that one or two people getting into a fist fight is anything on the same level as bombings or shootings that kill multiple people, but the fact is that it is resorting to violence in an attempt to defend what they believe and what they hold sacred. The same holds true for someone of any religion who feels that they need to do something to defend God and the things that they view as sacred, I know a lot of people who are very devout in variety of religions who might might resort to radical measures to defend the things they hold sacred. But then it comes to the question of two wrongs making a right. Where does the responsibility lie? Freedom of speech is, in a way, a two edged sword because it means that, not only do we have the right to express ourselves openly, but so does everybody who completely disagrees with us. The key to keeping it peaceful is really respect for other people and viewpoints different than our own. As much as the responsibility of the violence falls on the person who starts that violence, we also must recognize the responsibility of the person who participates in a form of expression that they know to be highly offensive and inflammatory. As much as we can say that the attacks in Paris were not right, I also have to think that some of the responsibility for the tragedies lies in the act of publishing something that the artists know to be offensive to Islamic sensitivities to things they hold sacred. I am not, in any way, defending the extremists in resorting to such acts of violence, but I cannot say there is no responsibility on the heads of those who made the decision to publish the blasphemous cartoon. They were actively doing something they knew to be offensive to a specific group of people.

    2. Yes Becky, along with the right of freedom of speech needs to come respect for people and their beliefs.

  14. Thank you Nadia and Galit, for clearing up some things regarding Dieudonne! I agree that his views and opinions are unpleasant, and if he has broken French law, then it was right that he was arrested. If he did not break any laws, then he has as much right as Charlie Hebdao to voice his opinions, no matter what we think of them. Which brings me to my next thought. I believe in free speech and think it is vital to the health of a nation, but I also believe that with this freedom, comes responsibility. Respect for one another is also vital for the health of a nation. Neither Dieudonne nor Charlie Hebdo show much respect for their fellow man!
    Which brings me back to Charlie Hebdo, a copy of which I was looking at this morning! This is not a new publication. They have been offending different religious groups, and others for years! Nobody, up till now, has thought it right to go on a killing spree against this publication. Only since the birth of "radical Islam" have these things happened. As JoAnn said, no other religious groups have done this.
    As to how we are going to stop it, I just don't know. Poverty and a feeling of disconnect is a part of the problem, but many young people, and old, are joining these terrorist groups, despite having had an excellent education and coming from comfortable backgrounds.
    The rising of Anti Semetism in Europe is also very troubling!
    Will we be able to end this any time soon? I really hope we can, but I don't so. I'm afraid things could get a lot worse before they start getting better!

  15. One more thing regarding Charlie Hebdo – as much as I find their caricatures offensive and sometimes inappropriate even anti-Semitic from time to time , I do believe in their right to publish anything they want. If Muslims or Catholics or Jews don't like it - so don't buy it! If anyone believes they broke the law – sue them.
    At least I admire the Charlie Hebdo integrity, while others don’t hesitate to offend non-Muslims with no regrets. I just watched an old interview (2003) of the chair of UK cartoonists union making a remark on an extremly anti-Semitic caricature against Israeli PM at the time, that was published on the British Independent. When asked how come we never see the same spirit regarding Arab/Muslims leaders – his answer was "because Jews don’t issue Fatwas" (!!!) At least he was honest…
    If the integrity of the western media is based on fear (which will enhance now), if the freedom of speech is defined by who will not slaughter me if I express my opinion about him.. then all these beautiful values become worthless. I wonder how many among the journalists and politicians who were protesting last sont vraiment Charlie…

  16. "If the integrity of the western media is based on fear (which will enhance now), if the freedom of speech is defined by who will not slaughter me if I express my opinion about him.. then all these beautiful values become worthless. I wonder how many among the journalists and politicians who were protesting last sont vraiment Charlie… "

    Oh, I love this! Amen and amen. I have to wonder how many 'sont vraiment Charlie' too. When it happened, everyone(myself included) posted "Today we are all French, je suis Charlie". But if we were TRULY Charlie, truly angered at the attack on free speech, wanting to send a message....would we not have all shared the cartoon itself? Why didn't newspapers, magazines, websites, Facebook and Twitter users flood the world with the offensive image? BECAUSE WE WERE TOO AFRAID. Free speech has definitely become "speech against people who won't kill me."
    Other religions do not corner the market on 'extreme responses'(which are limited in number and always condemned by those who are of the same beliefs). Anti-fur activists throw red paint on clothing that does not belong to them, animal rights activists hold mock funerals in restaurants, people get into public screaming matches and fights over climate change and abortion. We have had bombings over political views all over the world, and environmental groups have had planned attacks thwarted. All of those things added together can not begin to match the scope of Islamic radicalism. Do we compare Ebola and AIDS to the common cold and the flu?

  17. About freedom of speech, potential blasphemy & respect...

    As I am writing to you, lots of people are very agressively demonstrating against "Charlie Hebdo" (and France) in the streets of many Muslim countries around the world : burning french flags and destroying some french buildings... in Niger 2 churches were even burned...
    Many of my Muslim friends (but also some of my Catholics and Jews friends or family) think the same as some of you here and there : all of them disapprove the attacks but find that Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists and journalists are partly responsible for what happened because "with the freedom of speech comes the responsibility to respect", and they weren't.

    Please I hope you won't be bothered reading me but I will dare to be honest with you : I deeply disagree with this idea in this case!
    I feel almost like an alien and I am not one LOL! Maybe it's because I am french ;-)
    More seriously, I think it's because my background or cursor aren't the same...

    As JoAnn and Galit guessed it -if I correctly understood what they wrote in their last comments- Charlie Hebdo's journalists placed their integrity above everything.
    I have followed their work since more than 10 years, being a subscriber of this tiny little newspaper who was at the same time "bête et méchant" as they said ("stupid & mean"), funny & sarcastic, and militant & activist of many causes! It depended on the cartoonist or the writer...
    But it also was sometimes only "fun & farce", nothing so serious and thoughtful as "Le Canard Enchainé" (another irreverent weekly newspaper I have already talked you about).
    Nobody had to agree with them or was forced to read them or buy their journal... They had lost only a few trials among the many they had to deal with and the sentences all were for "insult" and not "incitement to racial hatred"! Did you know that they were in an editorial meeting when they were killed, preparing the next issue of the journal about "The fight against racism"? How sadly ironic isn't it?

    They were indeed anti-clerical but not anti-religion, they profoundly disagreed with the ritual and the dogmatism of the extremists from any religion, not rejecting pious people but the one who were bigots, wanting to impose their way of live and think to the others!
    That's why -for example- they constantly were attacking the islamist fringe lately! That was the purpose of most of their caricatures : resist the integrists of each of the 3 monotheistic religions...
    Sometimes I found their drawings not funny nor smart, sometimes even "too much", but still, I knew what their positioning was : standing against the established order and using black humour! And I respected that. This courage...
    Charb -the editor in chief- always said "I prefer dying standing up than living on my knees".

    Maybe this kind of rebellion and particular tone is typically french I don't know. Many say that France as a tradition of provocation and satire that can be traced back to the past centuries... maybe that's why we are reacting like this?

    What I am sure of is that our deep attachment to secularism since the beginning of the 20th century has build us up differently than the US for example.
    The common French finds strange that on your banknote one finds the mention "in God we trust", or that all your Presidents finish their speech with "God bless you"... but maybe that's why the integration is working better in your country than ours : because you are all very attached to the Sacred, you are more respectful about the Sacred of other religions and will self-censor yourself to
    respect the beliefs of others.

    ...continued on the next post below...

  18. What I want to say is that the fact that some do not respect or honour the Sacred in France doesn't mean that they are irresponsible.
    As I said, in France, the individual is protected by the Law and the Values of the Republic, not the convictions.
    It's what our foundations are (but will it stay so??) : the "Laïcité" (secularism) ; that means that everything which is in the public sphere should be/remain neutral : no "outer religious signs" in public schools, or if you are an advocate or a policeman, or work for the administration etc... France is up till now very strict about it and this has brought on tension with many believers.
    That's the french model/option of integration : providing a common minimal set to everybody.

    My mother is dutch and in the Netherlands they are much more tolerant and give place to communitarianism (as in UK) : it can be positive but also negative : muslims women have obtained the closing of swimming pools for men at certain hours.
    In some places in the US some schools aren't teaching science as we used to but with the religious prism. In Israel some jews orthodox newspapers have recently "erased" with photoshop Angela Merkel on the official photograph of the Paris demonstration (she was standing just beside our President) because it is not suitable to picture a woman...

    These are 4 examples of tiny little things which you obviously can't compare to crimes made in the name of God now and in the past of all religions.... but still it is the irruption of religion in the life of anyone ; faith doesn't stay then a concept, something personal that you live in your heart and soul. But can become something that will conduct your everyday life with rules, "do's & don'ts" etc...

    Next time I will share my thoughts with you about radical islamism and islamophobia ; it takes me so much time to write in English! Pheeew!

    1. Nadia, thank you very much for your perspective on this highly charged matter, especially since it is one to which you can relate so deeply. I appreciate you r candor in expressing your thoughts, here. As I mentioned previously, I find myself torn between the concept that the cartoonists murdered were very much within the confines of the law and the fact that they were being so blatantly disrespectful to people of all religions, and I find that hearing a variety of opinions helps me to deepen my understanding of each side of the situation as I express and develop my own thoughts.
      As much as I am a proponent of the personal responsibility that accompanies the right of freedom of speech, I understand that freedom of speech means that people will say things with which we don’t agree, and they will say them in ways with which we don’t agree. Freedom of speech and expression means that, not only are we allowed to express ourselves freely, but so is everyone else, no matter if they agree with us or not. That is their right as much as it is ours. I recognize that this is all of the cartoonists and artists attacked were constantly fighting for through their work. I recognize that they were trying to effect change within society in order to find ways to make it better for themselves as well as for others. Though I do not agree with some of the ways that they went about trying to bring that change, I believe very strongly that they still have that right. I may think that there are better ways to try to bring about the changes that those who work for the paper seek, but I will still say that they have the right to do things that they think are best for society.
      And don't worry, you really are doing great with your English. :-)

    2. Thanks Becky!

      In their meaning (and in the one of many french people) it was not only a fight against dogma or obscurantism but also the willingness to defend the principle of the secularism of our society.

      But I agree: they are other ways to express one's convictions or bring that change! Much more diplomatic and searching for compromise ;-)
      I personaly like very much to vary the sources of my reflexion so that's why I am not bothered by a few of anti-conformist rebels LOL! :-p

  19. Please excuse me if this is posted twice, I am not technologically savvy. I wanted to mention the potentially powerful role that social media may have in many of the world's conflicts. I am commenting as a Jewish American citizen and an Israeli citizen, currently living in Canada. I have three adult kids, one of whom still lives in Jerusalem, and all three have been activists for Palestinian rights, yet another reason that I am so very proud of them. I wanted to point out something positive that I first became truly aware of during the horrible war between Israel and Gaza this past summer. A remarkable young woman named Joujou, who is a Palestinian living in France, started a Facebook page a while back called Palestine Loves Israel. She and others like her are dedicating themselves to fostering the commonality and respect between people. Many people on this and and other, similar pages (such as The Peace Factory) have provided a forum for people who would not have had a chance to previously communicate with each other to become virtual friends who send love and caring to each other. I was always fairly flippant about the role of social media (mainly a way to see what my kids are doing :-)--shhhh don't tell them!) but I have begun to see this as a potentially powerful tool to bring people who would normally be enemies together and to see the humanity in each other.I hope this is not too off topic but I think it is important to throw in some discussion about those who are trying to make the world a better place, not just about those who are committed to violence and war and hate-mongering.

  20. I am really looking forward to next week's show. So many of you have obviously delved deeply into questions of freedom, responsibility, faith and the scourge of sectarian violence in our world. I am especially grateful to have Nadia's perspective from France, which is a fascinating one, and Galit's from Israel, a country that has struggled more than any other with questions of democratic freedom versus the need to maintain its security. In this conversation we cannot hope to find any single solution, nor agree on what needs to be done. Exceptions will counter every "rule" and generalizations will, no doubt, abound. That said, I look forward to engaging you all in a spirited debate. I am sure I have opinions and convictions that will shock or infuriate some of you, but that's how it should be. I look forward to hearing from you on Thursday :-)

    1. This is Janelle though it may say another name when it posts. Charlie and I are thrilled with the response here from all of you brave enough to voice your opinion on such emotional and charged topics. Those of you voicing your personal religious beliefs, experiences, in languages that are not your first and doing an excellent job I might add. So happy to have all of you, new and former bloggers, from all the different countries and points of view. We thank you and hope that you will continue to blog, tweet, call in to the show, have civil discourse with each other and share your ideas. I will put up a new blog after today's show for more discussion.

  21. Here is a link to a newspaper article published the day after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. It explains the Muslim view of why they don’t like seeing pictures and depictions of the prophet Mohammed. It also clearly claims the fact that, despite the images of various Islamic groups celebrating the attacks on the cartoonists in Paris, the religion does not condone the violence.
    I think of some very good people whom I have been very privileged to know and to work with who just happen to practice Islam. They are not the radicals who would carry out such extreme acts of violence, but are rather people who would do everything in their power to lift others and to bring a sense of understanding, support and tolerance among the people who seek to offend them. For me, this is why I did not share the cartoons that the extremists used to justify such acts of violence and hatred, even though I can understand the sentiment of “Je suis Charlie”. It was because I know it would offend and deeply hurt good people who are very dear to me- good people who would not willingly do anything to harm another.
    However, there is, currently, a sense of fear of retribution from radical extremists that causes many people to feel like freedom of speech is being limited and controlled. That fear can threaten to silence freedom of speech, and cannot be allowed to do so. If fear keeps us from exercising the right of freedom of speech, then discussion stops, progress stops and we become slaves to that same fear.

    1. I do agree with you Becky(and thought of it AFTER I sent the reply, isn't that always the way). Even if all magazines, news media, and FB friends had shared the cartoon, I would NOT have. Not because I am afraid they will hunt me down and kill me, but because #1 it would offend people who are not the perpetrators and even more so, #2 because I have no right to complain about blasphemous images of MY faith, then proceed to participate in the mocking of another. It is the reason I will never see "The Book of Mormon".
      As for "becoming slaves to that same fear", I think that ship has already sailed. As soon as one of these incidents occurs, the response begins: "Islam is a religion of peace!"(it means submission, not peace), "Fundamentalism must be stopped!" "Religion is dangerous!"(and I'm sure at the same time, decent Muslims around the world are praying "Please don't let them be Muslim"). Until Paris, there was a complete refusal on the part of the media and the left to identify Radical Islam as the problem, and it's still pretty watered down. Trust me, if Charlie Hebdo had drawn a cartoon about Jesus, the headlines would have said "CHRISTIAN TERRORISTS KILL INNOCENT CARTOONISTS". Galit can tell you too...Hamas will lob rocket after rocket into Israel, and as soon as Israel retaliates, the headline says "Israeli attack on Palestine continues". We can't have honest discussions with such blatant bias/fear of fatwa. What's silly is, I think many who are refusing to identify this for what it is, believe that when ISIS etc comes to their town, it will somehow give them brownie points, that their "free thinking tolerance" will spare them.

  22. Thanks Charlie! Thank you Karin for this refreshing post (news) ! It feels good! :-)

  23. Thank you Nadia for giving us a clearer perspective of the feelings of the French.
    Karin, I agree that social media can play a big part, for good, and unfortunately, for bad.
    Becky, thank you for posting that link. I found the article very interesting. I know the majority of Muslims are good, caring people who are apposed to the radical Islamists. I know they do speak out against it, but perhaps they need to speak a little louder. I agree that fear is threatening to silence freedom of speech, and we cannot allow that to happen
    I am really looking forward to next week's show as well, Charlie! It may have to be a two-parter!

  24. This will be in two installments, because somehow the blog thinks it's longer than 4,096 characters:

    First, freedom of speech does have its limits. You can’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre without repercussions. The same goes for satire (which is what the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo were)—if you know you are offending a segment of the population, then you should understand there might be a response that could be violent, especially if you are targeting a religion in which some adherents have a reputation for violence.

    Second, not all religions are violent. Not all religious people are violent. People become violent (and there are different degrees of violence, ranging from spitting at people or throwing paint at them to beheading them) because they become extremely passionate about a cause, whether it’s religious, social, cultural, etc. Think of the people who bomb abortion clinics to prevent abortions from occurring (often killing innocent people in the process). Think of the people who kill in the name of religion—whether it’s the Islamic fundamentalists of the present or the Puritans of the 17th century who executed Quakers and “witches” or those who participated in the Crusades over 1,000 years ago—and wonder why they think their religion condones such behavior. But the idea that all religions are violent is definitely incorrect; there are quite a few pacifist faiths in the world that oppose any sort of violence, not just warfare. Sometimes, even self-defense is not permissible because that would violate the tenets of a faith. There is a reason why conscientious objector is an acceptable status during wartime (although that has not always been the case).

  25. Part 2 (and I composed this in word, so I know how many characters I wrote):

    What we are seeing today in many ways is a repeat of the past; the difference is that we are more aware of what is going on in the world around us because of social media, the Internet, cable news networks, etc.—although some of it, such as the actions of Boko Haram and Raif Badawi’s punishment, often is overlooked by the mainstream media because it doesn’t fit into the narrative they promote (or becomes yesterday’s news very quickly). Just remember, this isn’t the first time that followers of Islam have affected U.S. or world history; there is a reason why the Marine Corps Hymn has “the shores of Tripoli” in its lyrics.

    In no way am I condonding the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. I think they were horrific. In the U.S., when tabloids print material that is perceived to be offensive, we resort to legal channels (think of how many times the National Enquirer has been sued for printing lies--or, for fans of The Nanny, watch the episode "The Nanny & the Hunk Producer"). Obviously that does not occur everywhere, as freedom of speech and freedom of the press may not be as valued as it is here in the U.S. I appreciate the views of Nadia, Galit, and Karin (who are providing perspectives from other countries), because they obviously are more familiar with how their nations are viewing this situation than I am, along with those of the other contributors to the blog. But in many ways the attacks at Charlie Hebdo were just another in a long line of incidents mentioned by JoAnn demonstrating that the Islamic extremists are trying to send a message that any attacks on Mohammed will not be tolerated. It's a holy war that has been going on for 1,400 years since the establishment of Islam, and it's not going to go away quietly.

    In my opinion, the main problem is the lack of civility in public discourse today. Almost immediately, people resort to name-calling instead of understanding the other person’s perspective. I have lost track of how many times I’ve been called intolerant because I don’t agree with someone else’s opinion (surprisingly, it’s usually “open-minded” people who behave that way). We need to respect people’s right to have different beliefs and opinions, but at the same time we shouldn't become so overly sensitive that we dare not say anything because we might possibly offend someone. That will lead to the end of free speech, which I'm pretty sure nobody wants (and "Here's a Thought" certainly would be a much quieter show if that occurs).

  26. Adding these 2 recent links from january 18th which summarize one of the french points of view I was trying to depict you.

    A short article :

    A short video :

  27. I wanted to share with you a clip from my show with Corey Jenkins, another host on TradioV. His show " Life with Awareness" is a fascinating conversation on some of the more pressing spiritual "life" issues of our time. I happen to believe that the conversation in this clip gets to the heart of ONE aspect of our current, global problem with "group" violence. We will certainly get back to this on Thursday. Cheers!

    1. So very true, and sad that it ends in violence. Do you think there is a "testosterone factor" in play here? As we have football play-off/Super Bowl Fever here in the US, we see lots of "teasing" and actual fighting over "the Teams". 99.9% of the time, it's men. Until recently, wars were fought by men, most politicians in the world are men, the teams are men, and the fans who get a little too passionate about the games are men. One man will not wear a big rubber cheese on his head on a normal day, but get him in a stadium with other men, and bring on the schmaltz. Of course there are female fans, but not in such large numbers. For myself and most of my female friends, we care about whether we have to deal with Tom Brady again this year(ptoi ptoi), and if we can sneak out at half-time to go watch "Downton Abbey" LOL.
      A Brit friend of mine shared this British comedy sketch, as she watched the US pigskin frenzy. Thought you'd get a kick out of it, Charlie!!

    2. I find Corey's conclusion at the end of the video VERY interesting and wise!
      Thanks for the link :-)

    3. It's very easy to make the jump from a highly emotional experience to a religious one, at least logically anyway. That's why there are so many people will differentiate between spirituality and religion. And that's how we can compare the feeling and behavior at sporting events to a religious experience. And once people get into that highly charged emotional state, charged withall of that emotional energy, all it takes is one person, or a small group of people to change the flow of that energy and, suddenly, as you mentioned in the interview, it seems like people feel justified in doing things that they otherwise would not. With sports, it's easy for this to happen because it's something we get so emotionally charged about. With religion, it's something that's very personal so we take it that much more seriously. And when we see one person or group justifying a certain behavior because they are connecting that behavior to their own religious experience, it's easier to justify it for ourselves. It's either because people percieve it as "fun", such as with the face painting and wearing of rubber cheese on our heads, or it's percieved as a "justified expression of faith and committment". I'm not sure how much of it is simply testosterone based, though. In sports, possibly, but I'll say that women are just as prone to this version of tribalism, as Charlie would call it, as the men are. We just tend to be more subtle in the ways that we display it. I know that, within certain circles of my religion, I get frowned upon because I'm not the homemaker that some feel I should be as a faithful member of the church. Sometimes, I feel very judged by certain groups of women because I don't fit the mold that they think I should (so what if I let my husband cook because he likes to or super glue a button on because I don't have time to do it right). But this only happens when they are in a group, because, individually, these women are very down to earth and accepting of whatever weirdo I happen to be that day. I believe we only see the men's reactions because they are far more visible than women's reactions.
      JoAnn, I love "That Mitchell and Webb Look"! This is one of my favorite sketches. It demonstrates the idea of the compelling need to identify ourselves with something larger than we are, no matter how distant it might be. Oh, and the next time you are expected to watch football, it helps if you can think of it as just a whole bunch of men in tight pants. If you having a stressful day, add in the fact that they are beating each other up.

    4. Very true! People will do things in a group that they would never do on their own. That feeling of belonging, something that many people have never had before, empowers them to act in a completely different manner. Sports is always a good example. Take the people who after being so emotionally charged up watching a game, leave the stadium needing to discharge that emotional energy. It only takes one person to start smashing windows and destroying property and the group will follow. Something they would not do on their own!
      Groups are very capable of working their members up into an emotional fervor. So much so that it does reach the point of a religious or spiritual experience.
      I agree Becky, that women or girls can get caught up in this too. I have seen it many times in school!
      And Jo, I love that video! It so demonstrates the need to belong to a "tribe" and it is even easier to do this if your "tribe" is the best or strongest " tribe"!

  28. I would like to know what Charlie's latest reaction to the terrorist attacks in Belgium(Brussels)are since it occured and what his emotions said when he heard the people want the peoples responsible returned to the country.i know this might not ever happen.But I'm just curious!

  29. It saddens me greatly to see all the anti West demonstrations going on in many cities in the Middle East. Thousands of Muslims marching in condemnation of the March in Paris. They are upset over what they see as support by the West of the ridiculing of their most sacred religious figure.
    Once again, their is a huge miscommunication between the cultures, and this miscommunication could, I fear, lead to even more violence. The fact that the March in Paris was a show of support for the freedom of the press, and not in support of what the press publish, is hard for them to understand.
    I believe that in countries where there is no freedom of the press, the people find it difficult to believe that we may not agree, or even like what is published, but will defend their right to publish it.

  30. I'm sorry to have been away from this page - I couldn't ignore work the last few days - and now I've had some catching up to do with the discussion! As everyone has said, it is very interesting to hear directly from Nadia and Galit in situ. Nadia, I wish my French was anywhere near as good as your English! I have a special fondness for France, as my mother (although not French) was born there and lived there until she was 13, but I don't get to practice my conversation much these days.
    What do I think about all this? As usual, too much, so I'll (try to) confine myself to a few points. The reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that extraordinary outpouring of support in Paris, was something I found very moving and also hopeful. I think that story "took over" the media for several reasons. Undoubtedly, there were elements of the old Titanic joke, where the headline in the small town paper is "local man lost at sea." I think the special interest came from journalists themselves, who felt personally involved, but also from those who live in what used to be called the free world - I'm not so sure of the boundaries now, if they even exist - because an attack of this kind in the center of a major western city has a shock value that is at least different to, if not greater than, the shock of a massacre in a more dangerous place. I'm not condoning the difference, but I think it's there. I also think that the Charlie Hebdo continues to reverberate for longer than usual - most news stories, however terrible, have a very short shelf-life, and we often don't get to hear the ending - because this particular story has a meaning that gets to the core of so much of what we are talking about here, and so much of what is dangerous and horrifying, and also hopeful, about the world we live in. I think that the issue in Paris is not even just about freedom of speech, I think its about the importance of irreverence in relation to ideas. Religions are about ideas, political systems are about ideas, countries are about ideas, cultural norms are about ideas, and so on - and the greatest danger we face right now, I think, is the danger of ideas that become ideologies. Radical Islam, yes, but also all fundamentalism. Political extremism of every shade. And so on. (tbc

  31. (sorry about that - too many characters!)
    Of course, ideas can't be entirely divorced from the people, and so we all can be offended when our ideas are challenged, let alone mocked - but there is a difference between "ad hominem" attacks that are personally disrespectful to individuals and a the critique of ideas. I think the West's great contribution to civilization has been not any particular idea, any particular system, but rather the emergence and acceptance of the notion that any idea can and must be dissected, critiqued, disagreed with, adapted, considered in an ongoing process that doesn't end. So I was moved by the Paris demonstrations in the same way that I'm moved by any peaceful demonstration - and I am hopeful because so many are demonstrating again - but it's not just one thing. It's not simple. Yes, there is anti-semitism in France, but there were a good number of people in that crowd holding signs that said "Je suis juif." And yes, the politicians were using the demonstration partly for their own ends, but they were still there, and they can't deny it, and their presence makes them differently accountable, even as hypocrites. And yes, some - not all - moderate Muslims are offended by pictures of the prophet, but sometimes it is necessary to offend some people to get at an idea. The point of the cartoons, I think, was not to say "this is a stupid rule" but rather to question the kind of political correctness that says it's not okay to question ideas/practices/beliefs because some may be offended. I do also think that western liberalism, in particular, now has this dilemma - there must surely come a point at which we (yes, I'm lining up with the liberals again) take a stand about what is not relative. Which values, or practices, whether cultural, religious,societal whatever, are not acceptable to what our understanding of common decency and humanity. It's a balancing act, once again, and there's no easy answer and no hope of rest from striving - but I think that's part of the point. The willingness to strive. To keep asking questions, keep thinking, keep being irreverent, even if it sometimes seems rude. How else do we ever figure out when we're wrong? So I think Paris was one of those game-changing moments that moves the discussion on. And now - in my preferred news sources at least - there is coverage of all the other stories you guys have mentioned, and the coverage is shaded, whether overtly or not, by what happened in Paris. I should say, too, that from the first day, there was coverage in Europe, at least, of moderate Muslims saying - as they so often do - "not in my name." In fact, I saw photographs from all over the world with people holding up "Je suis Charlie" signs, even in places where the danger of doing so is very real. How many of us have ever done that, or even said, "not in my name"? There were all kinds of people in that crowd in Paris, too. Did you guys see the clip of the Israeli Jew and the Palestinian coming across each other in the crowd - each had a flag - and embracing. Okay, it's only two guys, and not unprecedented, but on that day, in that place...a time for hope, a time for cynicism, I time to be PC (and I am, very!) and even a time to offend, as long as there's thought going on, and the thought can be expressed freely, and discussed freely - and yes, there are limits, which also must be discussed in a free society. Which is what we're doing now. Which is what we won't be able to do if we let any ideology win.

    1. Jude, I love your point about "not in my name". I'm so happy to see peaceful Muslims coming out to protest, and can't even imagine how terrifying it must be for them. I'm sure much of the "lack of condemnation" we've seen with all of these attacks, isn't because they agree but because they are afraid of retaliation.
      As an Evangelical Christian, I know very well what it's like to say "Not in My Name"...but of course my life is not in danger for doing so, and I don't want to downplay that aspect of it AT ALL. But...for Christians, the world DEMANDS that we denounce/condemn things that are done or said by supposed "Christians". Charlie has even said it on his blogs over the years....silence is implied consent. And of course, it's not just's any 'group' that behaves badly while using their "group ideology" as cover. The other members are expected to speak out, and are looked at with suspicion if they stay silent. I think most of the world transfers their experiences(with being expected to speak up in protest) to the 'moderate Muslims" we hear so much about. The silence from them has given people cause for pause, wondering if they truly are sympathetic to what the radicals are doing. We need to facilitate more of this outrage from moderate Muslims, and if needed, help to protect them from retaliation. I'll admit, where I live there is a very small Muslim population, our area is primarily Jewish and Catholic(so I'm an oddball LOL). I don't see or hear what more westernized Muslims are saying in response to all of this terrorism. Perhaps there are areas where there has been a lot of outspoken Muslims, but that's not the impression I get from what I see on the news and online.

  32. Jude, I allow me to quote you : SO true! I really liked what you wrote!

    "I think its about the importance of irreverence in relation to ideas. Religions are about ideas, political systems are about ideas, countries are about ideas, cultural norms are about ideas, and so on - and the greatest danger we face right now, I think, is the danger of ideas that become ideologies."

    "The point of the cartoons, I think, was not to say "this is a stupid rule" but rather to question the kind of political correctness that says it's not okay to question ideas/practices/beliefs because some may be offended."

    "...and even a time to offend, as long as there's thought going on, and the thought can be expressed freely, and discussed freely - and yes, there are limits, which also must be discussed in a free society. Which is what we're doing now. Which is what we won't be able to do if we let any ideology win."


    1. So Nadia, you are saying the point of the cartoons was to attack political correctness more than any religion per say? A way to get the discussion going and to encourage the free flow of ideas!

  33. We all agree - Muslims included- that these terrorists around the world acting in the name of Islam aren't respecting any of the principles concerning God or the Prophet!
    There is always somebody in their full of hate & resentful groups to find a sentence in the Coran or a justification for their terrible acts but still : it is torturing, killing, raping, stealing, having sexual slaves etc... NOTHING that Islam or any other religion would encourage or excuse! Nor any other atheistic human being on earth!

    A lot of Muslims in Europe don't react because they feel nothing in common with these extremists... as I haven't think one second to excuse myself when Anders Behring Breivik killed more then 70 persons in Norway in the name of the White Christian Community!
    But I perfectly understand what JoAnn means when she says that "silent is implied consent"... Indeed when the Muslim Community expresses itself by condemning any crimes committed in the name of its faith, it brings a reassurance which avoids the confusion.
    Salutary & beneficial to all, I agree!

    I am a very optimistic person in real life but yet I consider it will be a tough and long process to change the tendancy these countries or people have to hate increasingly our western world and what it represents...
    I believe we have to start seriously to re-think our international politic. There won't be one magical solution, and I don't want to sound angelical, but the suffering from a big majority of these population living in those non-democratic regions, suffering from poverty + a lack of education and security, will probably continue to constitute a fertile ground for the recruitment for the jihad... And -I quote Sharon 'cos I couldn't say it better- "We have to make it harder for those groups to recruit young people by giving them better options!"

    Similarly, even if we can't compare the life conditions of our European Youth from Muslim Heritage with the one of these inhabitants of East/Middle East/African/North African States, we have possibly to review our national politic as well.
    Speeking for France, some of the young people here is feeling marginalized or is margenalizing. The islamophobia is increasing AND the rejection of our society by some of them raising as well... Both bad tendencies, a fruitlesss escalation...

    There are many other Kouachi Brothers or Amedy Coulibaly (born and raised in France) ready to act and fight for the cause! This cause they are talking about which is confusedly mixing the fight to impose their vision of Islam + the struggle against what they consider as injustice in the Arab Nations' conflicts (Iraq, Syrie, Palestine etc...) + the rejection of the failures they have suffered from etc...

    The french option/model of integration of every parts of our multi-age, multi-cultural society i.e. providing a common minimal set to everybody throught the Values of the Republic, has failed right now for a part of this disadvantaged population often stigmatized and suffering from inequality.
    It is not enough to proclaim "liberty, equality, fraternity" (the emblem of France) so that they find meaning in the everyday life and are transmitted or even understood by all...
    We probably must all, government, teachers, parents etc... make an extra effort in the fields of education and citizenship, employment and social cohesion... in order to try to reverse this division.
    And struggle against radicalization but ALSO racism ;-)

  34. I noticed the discussion here was drifted a little to other existential questions. So excuse me for taking it back to radical Islamic terror – just one comment because someone mentioned that those movements are driven by frustration, poverty and the need to belong. Not that I totally disagree, but I would like to put something on the table: last week Israeli police arrested 6 Israeli Muslims who were recruiting for a local ISIS cell. They were practicing on sheep how to behead Israeli Jews in the future (so they said to the police). They also gathered money and improvised weapons. The head of the cell is… a young lawyer(!) worked in the past with the state prosecution(!). Another member is a pharmacist. The third is a son of former mayor of an Arab town in the Galilee. The fourth is a son of a volunteer of the state police. The father is still in a state of shock. About a year ago an Israel Muslim Arab left to join the terrorists of ISIS in Iraq – he was a doctor at a state hospital in south of Israel. A surgeon… they say he participated in beheading some western prisoners. he was killed few weeks ago.. (I thank his god for that)
    Not exactly the prototype terrorists.. deprived? Maybe. From sanity…

  35. This is a message from JOSIANE from Paris who asks me to post her comment here about the upcoming show.
    She preferred to write and post it in French, I hope you'll be able to translate/understand it.

    She would like to share her personal testimony regarding her participation to the Republican Rally, January 11th in Paris.
    Almost 4 million people have taken part in unity marches across France this particular Sunday.

    She also posted some pictures on her twitter account so that you can see them at this link : with the #HeresAthought to @c_shaughnessy & @OnlyConnectBlog

    "Inutile de vous dire que je suis impressionnée par la qualité des analyses et réflexions postées ces derniers jours sur le blog de Charles Shaughnessy. Je n'en attendais pas moins au vu de la gravité des événements survenus en France et de l'excellence de l'émission Here'sAThought.

    MERCI à Nadia qui disserte brillamment avec sincérité et avec tout son coeur de jeune française pour donner à ce débat d'idées toutes les couleurs et sensibilités nécessaires à la compréhension de nos valeurs républicaines.
    MERCI mes chères amies Karen, Sharon, JoAnn je me sens si proche de vous.
    MERCI à tous les autres Thoughters pour leur enthousiasme et leur franchise.

    Pardonnez-moi, mais aujourd'hui je suis encore abasourdie et choquée. Je n'arrive toujours pas à écrire. Tous ces événements s'entrechoquent dans mon esprit. Je vais simplement vous relater "brièvement" mais avec le plus de justesse possible ce beau moment de COMMUNION que fut la MARCHE RÉPUBLICAINE du 11 Janvier 2015 à Paris.

    A mon arrivée vers 10h30 Place de la République le ciel est bleu azur, l'air est vivifiant, il y a déjà beaucoup de monde et les médias du monde entier sont déjà au travail.
    Un sentiment particulier m'envahit, j'ai tout de suite senti que j'allais participer à une journée mémorable.

    Bien avant 15h (l'heure officielle du départ de la marche en hommages aux victimes) la Place de la République et les rues adjacentes sont envahies.

    Il faut remonter au 26 août 1944 pour trouver une foule aussi nombreuse dans les rues de notre capitale. J'étais loin de me douter que 70 ans après ma mère, qui était présente lors de la libération de Paris, j'allais vivre cette même sensation de fédération.

    De nombreuses familles ont fait le déplacement. La présence d'enfants et de jeunes qui arborent avec fierté leur message retient mon attention. Ce sont de futurs citoyens à qui nous devons transmettre des valeurs.

    Une foule calme, multiculturelle, une immense diversité d'âges, des personnes de toutes conditions. Les gens sont souriants et graves à la fois, beaucoup de dialogues entre inconnus. Une France consciente et lucide qui a mis de côté ses divergences politiques pour ne faire qu'UN dans l'union contre la barbarie.

    J'ai quitté la place de la République aux environs de 18h, le coeur lourd mais très heureuse de voir un peuple blessé se tenir debout dans l'UNITÉ, la FORCE, la RÉSISTANCE, la FRATERNITÉ, la DIGNITÉ."

    Josiane de PARIS

    1. The Google Translator online in English stays (surprisingly lol!) pretty close to the real traduction. I just verrified for those who want to understand the global meaning of Josie's text ;-)

  36. Thank you Josiane, for giving us your thoughts and feelings about the march. It must have been an amazing experience. Thank you for participating on the blog and for sharing that experience!

  37. Nadia, thank you for quoting me! Et Josiane, merci mille fois pour votre temoignage tres emouvant.

    From Muslims I know, and from the response I've been following in the UK, I'd say yes, there are many who feel so far removed from ISIS and other extremist groups that it seems irrelevant, even insulting to them to be expected to actively denounce extremists. I don't hear all my Christian friends actively denouncing Westboro Baptists, for example, although some do, usually through humor - but I don't think it's a requirement. Moderate Muslims also point out that there are not only different Muslim sects, but as with other faiths, there are also many different experiences of living as a Muslim in different countries, many stages of development along the path to a modern view of an ancient faith, and different interpretations of the text - all of which things are true also of, for example, Christianity. Some of you may have gathered that I am not a person of faith! However, I don't try to "convert" anyone, nor do I see a time in the near future - perhaps ever - when the urge toward faith in something greater, however that's defined, isn't strong in some people - perhaps most people. For those who don't belief, I guess there are root questions in regard to evidence, and then the question of whether faith transcends. For some it does, for others not. Such questions are philosophical, of course, and not, as a rule - I can't think of an exception - what wars are fought over. (tbc)

  38. once again, I talk too much!
    As a non-believer, what I find distasteful, and these days downright alarming, are all the ways in which organized religion is used as an instrument of violence and oppression. Nothing new, of course, and nothing to do with the founding philosophies of major world faiths. I do think, however, that in the clash between the Enlightenment ideas I hold dear and what often seem to be the forces of faith-based ignorance, I could take more time to understand the subtleties of others' reactions, especially in regard to faiths that I am less familiar with. For example, after I posted last time, I read an excellent article in the Guardian that said many of the things I was trying to say(that's not the only reason I think it was excellent!), only better. There was one point that really made me think about the relationship between freedom and respect. The article pointed out that the reason why Muslims might be particularly offended by a caricature of the prophet is that for them he is human - not a god or part-god - and so his life is seen as an exemplar, not as the avatar of an idea. In other words, insult the prophet, insult not the faith, but the person. This takes us closer to ad hominem attack, I think, and not so far from, for example, the offense given to some by consistently representing Jesus as a white guy, or a Jew with a hooked nose, or a person of color as an ape...and then we're in a place where irreverence can slide into, or be interpreted as, something very different. In that regard I think also that it is necessary to consider the larger impact that even an otherwise defensible act can have on a person or group of people who already feel disadvantaged. In defending freedom of speech, even within reasonable limits (e.g. hate speech, ad hominem attacks) I think perhaps we need to consider, not the respect due to someone else's ideas, but the effect of certain actions and statements on those who are not yet equal in society. Not exaggerated respect, or being PC for its own sake, but the difference between censorship and self-censorship, for common decency. I don't think this is a line that should be drawn forcibly, but I do think it's something to be mindful of, just as we are, hopefully, mindful of how an incident that might seem trivial or without malice to a white person in our society can look very different to a person of color. I think these considerations will all be a part of finding a way to live together, and to agree together on values that are core to human dignity, whatever the faith, ethnicity, gender...whatever.

  39. funny ! politic and relation just don't mix well in this world but keep the faith we use to all get along years ago black or white didn't matter i have seen it all but stick together and maybe some day we will all get along for the the future something to think about jmk here a thought !

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. My thoughts on the Freedom of Speech situation is that it really is being taken too far. It's getting to the point where hate groups are using it as the main ticket to stay out of trouble. Take the Westboro Baptist Church, for example. There was a court case in 2007, I believe, where the church protested at a fallen soldier's funeral and the parents of the solider took it to court. Westboro said that they "were practicing their rights of Freedom of Speech," like they always say, and they won the case. (Before I go further, I am a Non-Denominational Christian and I've been saved for 16 years, and I do NOT agree with all and any of their views whatsoever!) I understand that protest is a form of Freedom of Speech, but in my 19 year old mind, you can't just show up everywhere with signs that say "God Hates Gays" or "God Hates The USA" and expect it to be okay. Wrong. Using Freedom of Speech that can result in hate is not okay. That's my take on the Freedom of Speech scenario.
    Now onto my views on fear. On Twitter last Thursday (1/15), I said that fear is a dangerous emotion, and that it can do harm in any way. I still stand by this. I agree with what Charles said, if we live in fear, how can we move forward. Honestly, I don't think we can move forward if fear is involved. That has been something I keep thinking about for the past few days, and I think that fear is this long, tall wall in the middle of the road (in this case, our humanity and progress). It's in the way and you want to get around it. It'll take a long time to climb up, and once you get to the top and on the other side of this wall, what progress have you continued to make other than the fact that you just climbed up that wall. You then realize that you are at the point where left off the progress so you can climb that wall. Not much progress is being made when fear is in our lives. Little is being progressed when that fear gets a hold of not only your attention, but your life. We all have to find a way to break down the fear. For me, it's talking with my loved ones and praying. Sometimes, I think differently about the outcomes of living with fear and that helps. Everyone has a different method to live a life where fear is hardly present. The main thing we need to consider is that fear has this power of stopping our progress as humans. Fear can sometimes make us act violent toward one another, it can make us do things that we may feel like it's not in our control. It can make us harm and hurt loved ones. There are endless things as to what fear is capable of, and these are are hurting and stopping our progress to move forward.


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