In a guest editorial for The Standard, Nick Maurice wrote: “If anything good can come from the awful events in Paris on 7 January it will be a global discussion on the causes of and solutions to extremism from whatever source that extremism may come. But surely with freedom comes responsibility and with freedom comes the need for a legal framework within which that freedom operates. Is it justifiable for a magazine to print material which is gratuitously offensive to millions of people and is not even humorous and in the final analysis is about selling copy? Different societies are constantly changing and at different rates, not least through the extraordinary global migration of people from different cultures and different faiths. If you had told my Grandfather in 1910 that within a century London would be the sixth largest French city in the world, that only 35 percent of the population of London would be white British and the Muslim population of England would be 3 million, he would not have believed you.
“Therefore surely it behoves us all to recognise that what is freedom of speech to one person can mean gross offense to another and the only way to overcome this is by properly engaging with each other in the recognition that we all belong to one human family in which there are differences in the colour of our skin, our social means and our political or religious beliefs. Without that engagement there can never be a true understanding of “other” or the opportunity for reflection on our own society, personal beliefs, faith etc. And without that reflection and understanding there is the risk of unquestioning, dogmatic belief leading to extremism.
“If there had been proper engagement with, understanding of and support for the environment and society in which these criminals who created mayhem and murder in the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket in Paris were operating, maybe they would not have committed these crimes. While condemning their activities, do we not have a responsibility to ask the question “what were the contributing factors that produced such outrageous behaviour?”]]>