ISIS beheads popular street magician
Lost in the avalanche of reports of the shocking terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris is a heart-rending story that shows that Islamic sensitivities stretch well beyond provocative depictions of the mad dog known as the Prophet Mohammed – source of inspiration for so many monstrous acts of savagery.
It is reported here that a street artist was beheaded by ISIS militants simply for entertaining crowds with his magic tricks in the terror group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria.
After his detention, the illusionist was beheaded by militants in one of the city’s public squares because his magic tricks were deemed an insult to Islam as they created:
Illusions and falsehood.
A local activist who fled the city for Turkey that the magician’s murder was an example of:
Barbarism and butchery. The magician was a popular man who entertained people with little tricks on the street like making coins or phones disappear. He was just called ‘sorcerer’ by people and children loved him. He was doing nothing anti-Islamic but he paid for it with his life.
This is the reality of life in Raqqa, murdered in the name of Allah for performing a few tricks.
Earlier this week, ISIS fanatics reportedly executed four people for being gay in the Iraqi city of Mosul. The victims were hurled from the roof of a former government building in the city, which is under the control of the Muslim extremists.
Ever since getting back to by desk late this afternoon, I have been wading through dozens of reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings, and must doff my hat to Shane Croucher, of International Business Times, who praised the Hebdo team for refusing to yield to Islamic intimidation, which included the firebombing of their offices in 2011.
Often criticised by its targets for going too far, it [Charlie Hebdo] cites its fundamental right to free expression in a democratic society.
In that vein, it has never shied away, as others have, from satirising Islam, despite the violent reactions from extremists in the past, not only towards it but to others, like the author Salman Rushdie, the Danish cartoonists for Jyllands-Posten and the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.
‘If we no longer have the right to ridicule those who inflict terror on us, that’s a problem,’ said Philippe Val, Charlie Hebdo’s editorial director, in 2008.
Their brave satires of Muhammed have caused them horrific, fatal problems because of the backlash from violent Islamic fascists – but they’ve always reserved their right to keep on doing just that. Let’s hope they never stop.
Many people on social media are now urging the international press to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo by publishing the selection of its Mohammed cartoon, but my guess is that this simply will not happen, even though it bloody well ought to.
I posted the images above on the Freethinker Facebook page, and urged people to share them with as many of their friends as possible. That post has had record number of hits – over 14,700 in just a couple of hours!
Update: Curiosity took me over to the Islamophobia Watch blog run by Bob Pitt, to see whether he had anything to say about today’s events, only to discover that it’s gone tits up, like Protect the Pope:
Islamophobia Watch was launched in early 2005. On the tenth anniversary of its foundation I have decided that the time has come to wind it up. (The site will remain online but will no longer be updated.)
This is not because the threat of anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred that we set out to challenge ten years ago has receded. On the contrary, as the rise of PEGIDA in Germany and the recent arson attacks on Swedish mosques demonstrate, if anything the situation has grown worse.
The problem is that IW set itself overambitious aims. Reporting examples of Islamophobia from across the western world as well as producing comment and analysis in response to these developments is well beyond the capacity of a one-person blog. I’ve become increasingly frustrated by IW’s inability to perform this role effectively.
Our Bob believes Muslims themselves are better placed to “extend and deepen the work Islamophobia Watch has done over the past decade”.