“Murderous and self-sanctifying, radical Islam has become a global attractor for psychopaths. It has never been embarrassed to proclaim its list of hatreds: education, tolerance, plurality, pleasure and, above all, freedom of expression — the freedom that underpins all others.
Even more important than the abstractions are the people that jihadists hate and have killed: children, schoolgirls, gays, women, atheists, non-Muslims, and many, many Muslims. To that list we must now add the brave and lively staff of Charlie Hebdo, who hoped to face down hatred with laughter. The slaughter in Paris is a tragedy for the open society.
On a dark night for mental freedom, a few fragile points of light: the calm, determined crowds gathered in cities across France; the hope that the general revulsion at these murders might have a unifying effect; the fact that a cult rooted in hate is a frail thing and cannot last; the fact that the psychopaths are vastly outnumbered.”
Ian McEwan’s blog post following the Charlie Hebdo attack. These remarks echo the prophetic words of McEwan’s best friend, Martin Amis, who in 2006 said, to much controversy, “Islamism will become a sink for every wannabe Wahabi, every Walter Mitty of murder, every functioning schizophrenic, every rampant anti-Semite… There is a rage in Islam which has been building for the past century which is hoping to rebuild its superiority through violence.”
Watch McEwan reflect on the attack and its wider significance below.