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JAN 20 - JAN 28, 2015

Why We Chose to Publish the Hebdo Cartoons When Nobody Else Will

By Frank Parlato

January 20, 2015

Charlie Hebdo cartoons attack Muslims, Catholics, Jews, politicians and for that matter almost all humanity. While we don't agree with most of the content, we support and defend their right to publish whatever they choose.
The above edition is suspected to be the primary issue that provoked the murders. We think it is newsworthy to show these cartoons, despite the fact that many news outlets won’t show them. We are reporting news - we are not endorsing the content of the cartoons.
As you can see, Charlie Hebdo cartoons attack not only Islam but other religions too.
Please click on the above picture to see the print version of this story

Inasmuch as most, if not all the main outlets of Western media have declined to publish certain cartoons of the French publication Charlie Hebdo that provoked a terrorist massacre of their staff, the Niagara Falls Reporter decided to publish them in order for readers to see what a cartoon looks like that provokes murder.

The fact the other publications do not show the cartoons raises the question of whether terrorists have chilled free speech to some extent.

We are certain if this were an isolated, random incident of someone killing others because of an offensive cartoon - say an insulting depiction of Christ - the mainstream media would publish the cartoon that sparked the attack - as part of the news story.

But because a future fanatical Muslim attack is anticipated by some in the media, they seem reluctant to publish the cartoons.

We are not publishing these cartoons to be offensive.

We do not think the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo are funny, or even, as satire often does, represent some deeper truth.

So why are we publishing them?
1. News value. They provoked murder.
2. Because other media declined to show them.
Some of the media admitted their reasons for not showing the cartoons. Most have not. But, we believe, one should not report that cartoons provoked murder and not show the cartoons.

Lastly, to make it clear to those who bash genuine Islam and Mohammed that I don't support the bashing, I want to share with readers my view of Mohammed - the subject of the lampooning cartoons.

Every American would do well to try to understand the genius that was Mohammed. He was one of the greatest men who ever lived.

While I admire Mohammed, I am not Muslim and do not intend to be a Muslim.

I reject any notion that I have no right to admire Mohammed - without being a Muslim.

Many so-called Muslims who might say such things are not true followers of Mohammed - much like many Christians are not true followers of Christ.

There are many things to admire about this great Prophet: His strength, his manliness. His courage. His desire for equality.

"The Sultan of Turkey may buy a Negro from the mart of Africa, and bring him in chains to Turkey; but should he become a Mohammedan and have sufficient merit and abilities, he might even marry the daughter of the Sultan. Compare this with the way in which the Negroes and the American Indians are treated in this country!," said Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu, in the late 19th century, to an American audience. "You see the greatness of the Mohammedan beyond other races, showing itself in equality, perfect equality regardless of race or color… As soon as a man becomes a Mohammedan, the whole of Islam receives him as a brother with open arms, without making any distinction, which no other religion does. If one of your American Indians becomes a Mohammedan, the Sultan of Turkey would have no objection to dine with him. If he has brains, no position is barred to him. In this country, I have never yet seen a church where the white man and the negro can kneel side by side to pray. Just think of that: Islam makes its followers all equal — so, that, you see, is the peculiar excellence of Mohammedanism."

Or in the words of the Prophet himself: "Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers," The Prophet said.

There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of how, when they asked Mohammed which of his numerous wives he liked best, he said "the first, since she believed in me first."

And his admonition to employers: "Pay a man for his labor while the sweat is still on his brow."

And as for Mohammed preaching a violent kind of religion, consider he said, "Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever hath not kindness hath not faith."

Or this: "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."

Or: "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully."

Or: "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet."

There is no end to Mohammed's wisdom or genius.

If only Muslims would quote Mohammed and not condemn, there would be a sympathetic bond that would unite Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and all the people of the world.

So why are we publishing a cartoon meant to be insulting to Mohammed?

Lastly, because of the First Amendment.

To defend the right to publish news.

Like anyone else, I would rather not die for that right, of course, but like the policeman or military man, who must be ready to die to protect the citizens of his country, the newsman must be ready to protect his country's freedoms.

If he does not, he is no newsman. He is a deserter.

And should be defrocked.

That said, we are not trying to make out what we are doing as some kind of important, big thing. It is a small thing to publish the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo even if other media will not.

You don't praise a policeman for doing his duty. In fact you insult the honest policeman by praising him for simply doing his duty. It would be insulting to be praised for reporting the news- as if it were something wonderfully rare.

Related Story:
Somebody’s Got To Do It; We are Charlie Hebdo!






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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina