Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

Chia Barsen: The new cover for Charlie Hebdo is a step backwards!

After the horrific attack which killed 12 people at cartoonists office, a new copy of the Charlie Hebdo is release. This new copy of Charlie Hebdo now has international attention and a wide distribution that the magazine has never had in its history. The new cover of the Charlie Hebdo was supposed to be in many ways a reply to the massacre that occurred in its office that created a global wave of protest in defence of the freedom of speech and against religion. Sadly, the Charlie Hebdo magazine did not deliver.

Charlie Hebdo, in its previous issues that depicted Islam’s prophet Muhammad in various humiliating ways, attacked Islam as a religion. These previous covers of the Charlie Hebdo magazine said to the world that no system of ideas is too precious to escape mockery and ridicule. It portrayed Islam as an ideology that should and must be criticized and to break the ‘taboo’ of judging Islam. It is publications such as these that further open the way for society to see Islam’s inhuman and misogynist fundamental core.

After the wake of the massacre in Paris, millions of people are now demonstrating in the streets to defend the flag of the freedom of speech.  In this global movement is a group that is against Islamists and is also very critical of Islam as a religion: a religion that continually promotes, propagates and spawns Islamists groups around the world.

There is a second group within the international movement against the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This is the Islam apologist group. These are the people that are desperately differentiating between Islam as a religion of “peace” and the actions of the Islamists.  

The third group in this movement is the ultra-right-wing anti-immigration group. This group is using this event to promote racial and ethnic divisions within the working-class in order to win the next round of elections in Europe. This is the nationalist group that is using the excuse of “Islamification” of Europe in order to be elected to deliver other things on its agenda: a profound repression of the working-class through deep cuts to social services.

The new Charlie Hebdo magazine, with its new cover, had the opportunity to reply and stand up to the Islam apologists as well as to the European nationalists, but failed to do this. The new cover is a cartoon drawing of the prophet Mohammad crying while holding a sign saying “I am Charlie”. The new cover image shows that the prophet Muhammad would not have agreed with the attack on Charlie Hebdo and he is sympathizing with the victims. This cover image puts a good face on Islam and differentiates between the so called “peaceful” Islam and the Islamists. This is a big step backwards when considering that this is the same magazine that printed a humiliating image of Muhammad.

The goal of Islamists was to put a tape over the mouth of freedom through violence and intimidation. This was precisely what happened. A magazine that was boldly critical is now joining the Islam apologists. The cartoonist responsible for the new cover image proudly said that he is a “Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Atheist”.  There is nothing in religion to be proud of. Whilst it is every human beings fundamental right to believe in what they like, at an institutional and ideological level it is the responsibility of every person to criticize ideas that compromise our human rights. Islam today is a reactionary international movement that must be pushed back in every way possible. Just as it is important to differentiate between Muslims and Islam, we must also differentiate between Islam and what we consider our human rights and freedoms (gender equality, children’s rights, women’s rights and much more), and condemn Islam for violating them!  

Chia Barsen

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