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Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 15, 2015 at 6:05 AM

Charlie Hebdo attack: Not an attack on free speech

Despite what some commentators seem to believe, the Western world does not have a “Muslim problem.” And, the Charlie Hebdo attack was not an attack on free speech [“French paper puts Muhammad on cover, provoking a new storm,” Nation & World, Jan. 13].

Muslims are offended when the Prophet Mohammed is insulted. That doesn’t mean they don’t believe in free speech.

I believe in free speech, but there are things people can say that would offend me. Expletive-riddled name calling usually does the trick. As do insults directed at my mother.

But, unlike the Charlie Hebdo attackers, I am unlikely to kill someone because of an insult. However, that is not necessarily true of all Americans. There are about 15,000 murders in the United States every year, so our country certainly has no shortage of people willing to kill.

The difference is, those killers are not people like me; they are criminals. And the Charlie Hebdo attackers were not like a typical Muslim; they were criminals too.

Joe Sullivan, Kirkland

Comments | More in First Amendment, Islam | Topics: Charlie Hebdo, Free speech, Joe Sullivan

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