I have many moderate, freedom-loving Muslim friends who have expressed to me their abject fear of what could happen to public sentiment in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders. Already the #JeSuisCharlie tag is beginning to morph grotesquely into a de facto right-wing French nationalist rallying cry against Muslims. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, almost all of whom have done nothing wrong. It’s extremely important to remember that.
I draw this with a heavy heart over the loss of colleagues in a day of barbarism in Paris. Cartoonists create art that sometimes offends. And readers freely respond, sometimes offensively with calls and letters. That’s a vital part of the sacred compact of sharing ideas and expression that fundamental to our civilization. It has taken us far from the medieval world that some wish to return to.