‘Now cry Paris!’

‘Now cry Paris!’

Thus wrote an Islamist columnist after the attacks in the French capital. In a related story, his newspaper used the word terror in quotation marks, clearly implying that it disagreed that the attacks in Paris were acts of terror.

In 2012, American satire news site The Onion published a drawing in which cherished religious figures Moses, Jesus, Ganesh and Buddha were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity. The Onion’s headline read: “No One Murdered Because of This Image.”

The story went on to say: “After the publication of the image above ... no one was murdered, beaten or had their lives threatened, sources reported. The image ... reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. … Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes and continued on with their day.”

The Turkish reply came without much delay. The Onion’s Turkish equivalent, Zaytung, published a story titled “Video Showing [then] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Eating Beef Causes Havoc in India.”

The story went on: “Violent reactions among Hindus have worsened after a video showing Erdoğan eating one and a half portions of İskender [beef döner with fried butter, tomato sauce and yoghurt] was uploaded onto YouTube.

“Thousands demonstrated in front of the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi and the Turkish Consulate in Mumbai. Turkish diplomatic personnel have been relocated to safe-houses.

“It was not certain who uploaded the video to YouTube or why. The video shows Erdoğan ordering one and a half portions of İskender at a restaurant ... After the video was shared on YouTube, angry Hindus launched a protest campaign on Twitter sparking violence across India ... Some protestors chanted: ‘Cow-murderer Erdoğan!’

“Indian President Pranab Mukherjee called for restraint and said: ‘We respect everyone’s religious freedom, but no one should force the limits of our patience by eating beef.’

“But in India angry protestors raided local Turkish Airlines offices and burned posters of Erdoğan and the Turkish flag, vowing to carry on with their protests until Turkey apologizes and YouTube removes the video.”

All of that was in 2012. In the same year, Turkey’s top Muslim cleric, Professor Mehmet Görmez, visited Denmark to cooperate with the Danes over Islamophobia and promote interfaith dialogue. Professor Görmez ignored this columnist’s suggestion that he, while in Denmark, visits the Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who was living under police protection because he had drawn caricatures that Muslims deemed blasphemous to their faith.

Sadly, this author’s 2012 recipe to best fight Islamophobia remains unchanged and will probably remain unchanged in the foreseeable future:

“If Muslims stopped killing other Muslims because they belong to a different sect; stopped forcing their chosen practices on other Muslims; tolerated less pious Muslims; did not feel enraged if other Muslims did not abstain from alcohol or pork, or did not attend the mosque; did not kill men, women and children because they adhered to other faiths; did not blame rape on the length of a woman’s skirt; did not murder their own wives because they spoke to strangers, or their daughters because they flirted with boys or because they were raped by rascals; did not wish to start World War III because some maverick cartoonist drew blasphemous caricatures; did not issue death fatwas because an author wrote a blasphemous book; or did not aim to spread their religion to the entire world, by the sword if necessary, then fighting Islamophobia would be much easier (“How best to fight Islamophobia,” HDN, April 6, 2012).”

We are still living in the times of Zaytung realities. A fresh headline on the site quoted Boko Haram as assuring humanity that it is "certain there are no cartoonists among the 2,000 people we have just killed.”