Saturday, September 22, 2012

France Bans All Protests Over Mohammed Cartoons

It looks like France is finally growing some balls. One of the first countries to ban the full Islamic face veil (niqab), the French have now banned all protests that the Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cartoons might happen to inspire.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects throughout the country had orders to prohibit any protest over the issue and to crack down if the ban was challenged.

"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," he told a news conference in the southern port city of Marseille.

Normally I would condemn leaders banning their citizens the right to peaceful protest, but since 'peaceful' doesn't seem to exist in the vernacular of the Muslims who usually take to the streets, then I say, good on you.

French Muslim leaders were critical, but asked for calm. Not that it's ever a deterrent.

Mohammed Moussaoui, leader of the French Muslim Council (CFCM), described both the film and the cartoons as "acts of aggression", but urged French Muslims not to take to the streets for unauthorised protests.

"I repeat the CFCM's call not to protest. Any protest could be hijacked and counterproductive," he told French radio station RFI.

In anticipation of trouble (we have all witnessed the violent backlash that the anti-Islam film produced, including the death of diplomats in Libya), France shuttered its embassies (along with schools and cultural centers) in 20 or so Muslim-majority countries on Friday. A very smart move, since that's the day clerics usually take to their mics to encourage retaliation for offending their prophet.

And back on the home front, police were poised to take action on any impromptu protests that might occur on Friday and over the weekend. So far, so good- not much going on in the streets of France,  although that could change.

This particular magazine edition was so popular it sold out soon after it hit the streets, and Charlie Hebdo had to reprint. The satirical weekly, which has poked fun at pretty much everyone and everything, said it did this not to sell papers, as some have suggested, but to highlight the silliness of the furore over the film.

Besides banning the street protests, Valls took it a step further:

"Neither will I allow street prayers, which have no place in this republic. And naturally the law will apply to anyone who wears the full face veil."

But Charlie Hebdo had its critics in the new government of socialist President Francois Hollande, which called Charlie Hebdo irresponsible.

"When you are free, in a country like ours, you always have to measure the impact of your words," French European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
Letting the threats of violence dictate what we in the West do, is setting a terribly dangerous precedent.  We better be very careful how we proceed, or we'll lose our freedoms over a vocal, violent minority.

Source: Huffpo

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