The editors of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have come under fire for linking the Brussels terror attacks to ordinary Muslims.
In an editorial titled ‘How did we end up here?’, the magazine’s authors describe the Brussels attacks as merely the “visible part of a very large iceberg”, adding that a terror attack was the “end of a philosophical line” for a society which tolerates women wearing burqas or bakers not offering ham or bacon.
“This is not to victimise Islam particularly. For it has no opponent. It is not Christianity, Hinduism nor Judaism that is balked by the imposition of this silence. It is the opponent (and protector) of them all. It is the very notion of the secular. It is secularism which is being forced into retreat,” the article adds.
The editorial was criticised by campaigners for diversity in the media, particularly after Charlie Hebdo was last year awarded the PEN Freedom of Expression Courage Award.
Media Diversified suggested the article “slandered individuals who practice Islam” as well as Islam itself, adding that the former “results in violence we have seen against young women and elderly men”.
Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole was also among those who severely criticised the article, saying he had to “carefully scrutinise” the piece before he believed it genuinely came from Charlie Hebdo, and that the authors “finally step away from the mask of ‘it’s satire and you don’t get it’ to state clearly that Muslims, all of them, no matter how integrated, are the enemy”.
He wrote that reading the editorial it was “hard not to recall the vicious development of “the Jewish question” in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in”.
“Charlie’s logic is frighteningly similar: that there are no innocent Muslims, that ‘something must be done’ about these people, regardless of their likeability, their peacefulness, or their personal repudiation of violence,” Cole writes.
“Such categorisation of an entire community as an insidious poison is a move we have seen before.”
Many took to Twitter condemning the article