And then came the memories. In Holland, when my friend Theo Van Gogh was killed just over 10 years ago, what followed—after the initial shock—was that a lot of people started saying that he was a provocateur, and that he had offended Muslims. For me, it was morally very clear. You were morally very confused if you thought that somebody who uses speech, who uses words, who uses the pen, should be killed for that; if you thought that the only way to have a dialogue is for one side to use words while the other side uses violence to make their point. Everyone out there who says, “Charlie Hebdo provoked,” is making the same fundamental error.
We do need to wake up to the fact that there is a movement—a very lethal movement, very cruel—that has a political vision about how the world should be organized and how society should live. And in order for them to realize their vision, they are willing to use any means. They are willing to use violence. They are willing to use terror.
Is this some kind of cult? Or are the principles of this cult embedded in Islam? I happen to think they are embedded in Islam. The only way peace-loving Muslims can get rid of this is by reforming their religion so that, for example, it can no longer provide justifications for murdering people deemed to be blasphemers. And while they go about reforming their religion, which will take some time, we who do not adhere to that religion need to defend our own values. Freedom of speech. Freedom of publication. And the rule of law.
The questions going through my mind are: How on earth are there Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers in the heart of Paris? How did they get it in there? You think it’s only these three guys? There’s a whole network. There are a lot of people hiding weapons. When I was in Holland, this is the kind of thing people feared. The more we appease, the more we indulge, the more emboldened the enemies of freedom become.
The ball is now in the court of the media. If the press responds to this by not reprinting the cartoons, by not defending the principle that Charlie Hebdo was defending, then we have given in. Then they have won. Those three men yelled, “Allahu Akbar.” They yelled, “The Prophet is avenged. Charlie Hebdo is dead.” Our duty is to keep Charlie Hebdo alive. Our duty is to make sure that they realize that the Prophet is not avenged.