By Ismail Salami
With the publication of the profane pictures of the holy Prophet of Islam in Charlie Hebdo magazine, the West seems to be consciously moving in a direction where chaos will dominate the international arena and a clash of cultures will inevitably run deeper for an indefinite period of time.
Magazine director Stephane Charbonnier said his staff is "not really fueling the fire," but rather using its freedom of expression "to comment (on) the news [of the blasphemous film] in a satirical way."
The French magazine has a history of attacking Islam. On February 9, 2006, it also published some cartoons denigrating the holy Prophet. The Grand Mosque, the Muslim World League and the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF) in France filed a suit saying that the cartoons contained elements of racism. In 2007, executive editor Philippe Val was, however, acquitted by the French court. Surprisingly, François Fillon, the prime minister, and Claude Guéant, the interior minister voiced support for Charlie Hebdo.
According to reports, France is closing its embassies and schools in 20 countries, fearing a violent backlash from protestors over the blasphemous cartoons. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said, “Is it relevant and intelligent in this environment to add fuel to the fire?”
The publication of the cartoons, which came immediately after the release of the anti-Islam film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, has provoked widespread protests in most parts of the Muslim world.
It is painful to say that the French government has not only authorized such an anti-Islam move but it has also rejected a request by Muslims to hold demonstration in front of the Paris Grand Mosque on Saturday. According to the police ban, organizers of a possible demonstration will face six months in jail and a fine of 700 euros ($900). In a similar move, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls ordered a ban on any further demonstrations against the anti-Islam film made in the United States.
“I have issued instructions so that this does not happen again. These protests are forbidden,” Valls said in an interview with France 2 television network.
Protest is a form of freedom of expression which is denied Muslims in France but is given lasciviously free rein in the anti-Islam moves in the country.
There are abortive attempts by western analysts to interpret the two baneful incidents in the light of freedom of expression and thereby explain away the emotional hurt of the Muslim world. However, to an intellectually trained mind, this seems more than just an insult to Islam and the Muslims.
The calculated move of the French magazine in publishing the insulting cartoons immediately after the blasphemous film indicates a united front forming against Islam in the West. On the one hand, the move can be seen as an attempt to help escalate the crisis in the Middle East region and on the other hand to plunge the world into a vortex where a clash of civilizations is imminent.
Should we naively believe that the anti-Islam film which has caused much uproar and intellectual chagrin in the Muslim world is the work of a Coptic Christian Egyptian fraudster, a small-time porn director and a bunch of extremists who harbor deep hatred against Islam? This is a good question and it deserves an answer. Still, the answer seems to be found in the incident which followed the film i.e. the publication of the blasphemous cartoons.
Seen from an analytical point of view, the entire scenario apparently tilts the scale in favor of the Zionists who capitalize on a large-scale fracas between the Muslim countries and the rest of the world. In fact, they are the ones who will catch the bigger fish in these trouble waters.
Amidst this craftily authored plan, Israel has commenced a series of war games in Golan Heights, the biggest the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has conducted in the six years since the second Lebanon war on Hezbollah in 2006. Military sources say the war game looks like a real war with tens of thousands of soldiers and senior officers, including the artillery and the air force taking part. Israeli officials have announced that the situation in Syria is precariously volatile and that the country is in possession of a huge arsenal of chemical weapons which they fear might fall into the hands of wrong people stockpile if President Bashar Assad is ousted. This is the excuse which they use to justify their military show-off. In point of fact, Israel is readying itself to wage a military encounter in the region by using the anti-Islam scenario.
With the Muslim world in turmoil over the anti-Islam video and cartoons, Israel will be in a position to turn the situation to its own benefit, depict the Islamic world in a negative light with the help of western media and exploit the rift deepening between the Muslims and the West. These facts suggest that there are certain Zionist elements in the West which are fomenting Islamophobia in the world in order to bring about a lethal encounter between the East and the West and serve the interests of Israel in the long run.
– Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.