Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris have been destroyed, their website hacked and their journalists threatened, the day after the French satirical magazine announced the "editor" of its next edition would be the Prophet Mohammed.
The magazine is being punished for being so insensitive as to depict the Prophet (strictly prohibited in Islam).
How dare a satirical magazine in a non-Muslim, Western democracy express its disquiet at the thought of sharia law being enforced throughout the Mahgreb!
Spinoza sympathises with those who would discourage pointlessly offensive depictions of the Prophet designed to whip up anti-Muslim fervour and poke fun at believers, but this was not the case here.
Charlie Hebdo, in the tradition of Rabelais and Moliere, has long held up to ridicule what it sees as the faults and idiocies of those in positions of power and influence.
Long may in continue to do so...even if it does offend the sensibilities of those who take masochistic pleasure in being offended and use it as an excuse to flex their muscles and frighten the non-believers into kowtowing to the dictatorship of religious dogma.
At least the French political establishment has reacted quickly to denounce the outrage. Prime Minister Francois Fillon is quoted in this morning's Le Figaro newspaper as follows:
«La liberté d'expression est une valeur inaliénable de notre démocratie et toute atteinte à la liberté de la presse doit être condamnée avec la plus grande fermeté.»
One wonders if our own political leaders would have reacted so quickly and so unequivocally if Private Eye had suffered a similar outrage.