The slain editor of Charlie Hebdo hasnt been silenced just yet. Stéphane Charb Charbonnier, one of twelve victims of Muslim brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouchis January attack on the newspapers Paris office, has posthumously published a book on the subject of Islamophobia. The absurdly titled Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia Who Play into the Hands of Racists is little more than an eighty-eight-page tirade aimed at those who question the satirical French newspapers secular zealotry, which primarily manifests itself in lampooning religion from a perspective that might best be described as extremist atheism.
To be sure, Charlie Hebdo isnt worth supporting. The newspaper doesnt deserve to be the icon of freedom of the press that its recently become for some. Frankly, its not even funny like, say, The Onion. Nor was Charb some kind of hero or crusader for truth. In actuality, the Charlie Hebdo editor was an anti-religious, communist sympathizer; by all accounts, he was a first-class bigot who found all religions absurd and all forms of religious extremism (even the Amish?) to be dangerous. He held all believers in contempt, and he describes God in his Islamophobia manifesto as the guy with the big shoulders who plays with our planet like a driver stopped at a red light plays with his boogers.
Consequently, Charbonniers Fraudsters argues that all religions, including Islam, are fair game as targets of Charlie Hebdos derision in secular republican France. Well, that equal-opportunity insult policy is fair enough. But Charb goes too far by equating Islam with Christianity and Judaism.
The problem, he writes in Fraudsters, is not the Koran or the Bible soporific, incoherent, and poorly-written novels but the faithful who read the Koran or the Bible as we read instructions on how to assemble Ikea shelves.
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