The long swansong
Satire is the chief enemy of Islam in those swan-song days of its prelude before its “death” in the form it has been hitherto, but, its new life, after this “death”, a new life as a normal bourgeois religion is slowly emerging before our eyes.
This normalisation is what its adherents have long dreaded, and many Muslims still dread today, but most of Islam’s younger members, especially the males have already been there since about 1970. It was clear that many teenaged males, and also older males in their twenties, were drinking beer on par with the UK natives in public houses by the late 1960s, yet that is a great departure from Islam, even though mosques were back then springing up as though the creed was growing rather than ebbing.
Most of the many UK mosques maybe date from the early 1970s. But by 2070, they will most likely be closing UK mosques more rapidly than they are the forsaken Christian churches in the UK today.
But this normalisation of Islam is a cultural tide that many Muslim still wish they could roll back. That is what the Rushdie affair of the 1980s was about and it is what the attack on the magazine offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday was about too.
Twelve people were killed in the attack on the magazine offices to get revenge for targeting Islam in their cartoons. Eight were journalists, and four others including two policemen were also killed. Eleven others were injured, a few reported by the BBC as badly so.
The reaction will only enhance the felt need for most Muslims to conform to French normality. A few more Muslims might join the jihad to protect Islam, but way more will want to conform as a result. So, ironically, the cultural tide they seek to resist will be boosted by their resistance. Such jihad resistance can only effectively score own goals, even if they also recruit a few to aid them in the short run.
Cherif and Said Kouachi are said to be the main two attackers on the magazine yesterday. They are now on the run but still armed. Cherif Kouachi was sentenced to three years in gaol back in 2008 for recruiting jihadist fighters to go to Iraq from Paris. Hamyd Mourad, 18, on hearing his name on the news, handed himself in to a police station in Charleville-Mezieres. So he is already keen to conform. That indicates that even the very committed may soon drop out, owing to this sort of activity.
The magazine’s office had been earlier firebombed in 2011. It had a long running aim of the staff of the magazine to normalise Islam. Bystanders yesterday reported that the gunmen shouted in the street as they made their getaway, saying “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” , “we killed Charlie Hebdo”, and “God is Great” in Arabic too, but if they have killed off this particular magazine, many new ones are highly likely to arise to further satirise Islam. The aim of Charlie Hebdo staff to normalise Islam looks unstoppable, even if the magazine itself now folds up.