A unity march with little unity

What was the purpose of the big march in Paris on Sunday?

French authorities estimate more than a million Parisians marched – more even than when the Allies liberated France from the Nazis. But what was their point?

Some rallied for free speech. Many carried signs saying “Je Suis Charlie,” a reference to the Charlie Hebdo magazine staff who were murdered by Muslim terrorists for daring to draw cartoons of Mohammed. There were also lots of sad images of pencils. But very few images of Mohammed.

Was it a rally against Muslim terrorism? Perhaps. Many Parisians who were interviewed by the media talked about freedom and French values, including secularism. That’s an oblique way of opposing sharia law, of which censorship of images is a part. TV footage suggests there were few French Muslims in the march. Perhaps they worried it would be an anti-Muslim rally and stayed away; perhaps they simply support sharia.

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