Here are some thoughts on the brutal slaughter yesterday at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris (I don’t pretend that all of these points are original):
Responses that concentrate on criticising the magazine, or noting that some people were offended by its output is akin to pointing out that a rape victim was wearing a short skirt. Yes, it might be true, but if the implication is to present the fact as some sort a justification for what happened to them, then that is a disgraceful response to an awful crime.
The best response to demands that a particular form of expression should be stifled is to actively defy those demands. If those demands threaten violence then that complicates things, as “best” must take safety into account. Nevertheless, it is generally wrong to give in to the demands of terrorists (in part because it rewards their approach), and if enough people are defying violent threats then the threats are shared and diluted.
Media outlets reporting on the slaughter that don’t publish Charlie Hebdo images are making life harder for those that do.
The only Muslims who should be blamed for the murders are those who carried them out, and any accessory to the crime. All other Muslims are innocent, even those who agree with the actions of the terrorists (though they should be reviled for that).
It’s possible to recognise that Islam was a major motivating force in the slaughter, without any blame being laid on the vast amounts of innocent Muslims.
Muslims are no more obliged to condemn the attacks than non-Muslims. It must be frustrating whenever something like this happens to have lots of people looking at you as if to ask “Well? Aren’t you going to condemn it then?”. I’ve experienced something similar myself, and thus I have changed my view on this point. Perhaps we all have some obligation to condemn it, but my point is that Muslims have no special obligation over and above that base obligation.