Vox.com was praised on MSNBC for its bravery, even though this purported risk did not actually enter into our calculus, and other outlets have presented their decision to publish as a way to defy the Islamist radicals who threaten free speech.
Writers at Vox have indeed been bombarded with threats for our Charlie Hebdo coverage. But not one of those threats has come from a Muslim or in response to publishing anti-Islam cartoons. Revealingly, they have rather all come from non-Muslims furious at our articles criticizing Islamophobia.
Unfortunately, that sounds all too familiar, as I too received death threats late last year from a Christian man who crowned himself the king of England in America. He never said precisely what I had said that so offended him, but he made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he neither liked the fact that I was muslim, nor that I was “uppity,” and that I had better shut up or risk being beheaded, set on fire, and buried in a mass grave with the rest of my kin.
Writers at Vox.com received similar threats:
The threats that we did and did not receive
Though we do enjoy a readership among Muslims inside and outside of the United States, some of whom have not hesitated to express displeasure or worse at our coverage of stories such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, none has seen the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as worth sending an angry email or even an annoyed tweet, much less a threat of violence.
The most common states a desire that jihadist militants will murder the offending writer: a recent email hoped that Muslims will “behead you one day” so that “we will never have to read your trash again.”
That’s a real head twister! Feign vociferous support for free speech and pious indignation at so-called violent muslims who threaten it, then wish upon a muslim to carry out that threat against anyone who dares exercise it. Ha! To hell with logic and reason everywhere. We have “Je Suis Charlie” to rely upon.
Others express a desire to murder all Muslims — one simply read “I agree with maher Kill them all” — also often implying the emailed journalist is themselves Muslim. One pledge to attack Vox writers begins, “Fuck you and any cunt who believes in allah.”
Now, that’s what I call free speech! in the age of neo-liberalism, islamophobia and hypocrisy.