An old friend, Tony Barber at the Financial Times, has triggered outrage for a blog post he wrote this week. He questioned the “foolish” editorial judgment of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine struck by a terrorist attack in which 12 people were killed.

Tony’s column was jarring to me, too, but I had the same thought as the news broke. Indeed, every publication that chose not to publish belittling cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in recent years would have had the same thought at some point. As Tony implies in his piece, a pertinent question is: What were the cartoons for?

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