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By curtailing basic rights, Western nations resemble authoritarian states

By Rachel Marsden, Tribune Content Agency on

PARIS — Two signs on the glass front door of a municipal swimming pool in the Parisian suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie the morning of Oct. 17 perfectly captured the current times in Western civilization. One sign detailed new COVID-19 sanitary provisions. The other featured the triangular red “Alerte Vigipirate” symbol conveying the current alert level for terror attacks.

Not only were terrorism and COVID-19 juxtaposed in place but also in time, as just hours later, a schoolteacher who had shown his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed was beheaded in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, followed soon after by an indefinite closure of the swimming pool due to new COVID-19 restrictions.

Radical Islamic terrorism and sanitary terrorism may have more in common than it seems.

The 18-year-old Chechen refugee alleged to have killed teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was shot dead by police shortly after the attack. The suspect, Abdoullakh Anzorov, posted a photo of the victim’s head on Twitter and referenced the teacher’s educational use of the now-infamous cartoons that other jihadists had used to justify the murder of 12 people at the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine on Jan. 7, 2015. Charlie Hebdo had published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2012,

In August, a monthly magazine produced by ISIS supporters urged followers to take matters into their own hands by emulating the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Hey, France, listen up! Jihadists want you to protect their feelings!

 

Earlier this year, the French government, led by President Emmanuel Macron’s majority party, attempted to extend the state’s reach even further by curtailing online speech that could be considered “hateful.”

Radical Islamic terrorists want French citizens’ fundamental freedoms to be curtailed in order to ensure zero offense to their sensibilities. Every other special interest seems to be getting the restrictions on speech and expression that they ask for from the government. This has apparently left jihadists feeling left out and wondering why they should run the risk of encountering something unpleasant — such as a cartoon they consider to be in poor taste.

After all, we’re living in a time when governments in France and elsewhere are limiting, suspending or revoking fundamental freedoms at the whim of unelected interests. French society now bears a striking resemblance to that of Saudi Arabia.

Think that’s an exaggeration? In Saudi Arabia, a theocratic autocracy imposes clothing restrictions on women, controls who you can mingle with, prohibits dancing and drinking, and decides who’s allowed to wear a swimsuit in public.

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