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We think the Paris terrorists were offended by Charlie Hebdo's satire. What if we're wrong?

Here's a theory. Terrorists aren't offended by cartoons. Not even cartoons that satirise the Prophet Muhammad. They don't care about satire. For all I know they may not even care about the Prophet Muhammad.

Instead, they merely pretend to be offended by cartoons, in order to give themselves a pretext to commit murder. Murder so horrifying, on a pretext so unWestern, that non-Muslims – blinded by grief and rage – turn on Muslims. Blame them. Persecute them. Burn their book, attack their mosques, threaten them in the street, demand their expulsion from Western societies. Actions that, in turn, scare Western Muslims, isolate them, alienate them. And thus drive some of them to support – and even become – terrorists.

Result: terrorists swell their ranks for a civil war they long to provoke non-Muslims into starting.

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