Whenever you hear the prattle of 'Western values' you should recall Gandhi's words when asked what he thinks to Western civilisation: "I think it would be a good idea".
It's undeniable, Charlie Hebdo spewed a lot of filthy racist trash. However, free-speech should extend to precisely those people with despicable viewpoints; but it's odd that the West pretends it does so. If the French establishment did believe in free-speech then it wouldn't have criminalised Holocaust denial. The same can be said of other countries, if the UK government gives a damn about free-speech then it should ditch its crazy libel laws.
"If you believe in free-speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you dislike," said Noam Chomsky. It's clear much of Europe does not believe in freedom of speech for despicable views. In spite of the fact that the French Republic has long laid claim to the foundations of human rights and civil liberties, it does not act as if it is. It was only in July 2014 that the Hollande government banned the protests over the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. So much for freedom of speech.
Many liberals have been calling for the cartoons to be shown on the BBC and CNN as a kind of anti-clerical defiance. As Arthur Goldhammer argues, the satirists at Charlie Hebdo represented a provocative corner of mass-media in the tradition of gouaille. It's meant to be obscene, offensive and on the edges of acceptable opinion. Of course, this is less true of the Muhammad cartoons, which unites much of liberal Europe, than it is of the racist cartoons of the Chibok girls.
The right to free-speech, which may be limited at the point where violence is explicitly advocated, should be stretched as far as it can be. The right may not be the reason to say disgusting and offensive things, but it can't be policed on such grounds. Nevertheless, it is more in line with the Hebdo spirit to excoriate the magazine for its virulent caricatures than it is to embrace them as 'martyrs'. It's suspect that the magazine is celebrated in this way, and I think that the cartoonists would be suspicious of this process too.
What it seems to confirm is that the provocation of European Muslims really isn't that edgy and isn't repressed at all. The question we should be asking ourselves is: should this be the case? In Goldhammer's words: "To transform the shock of Charlie's obscenities into veneration of its martyrdom is to turn the magazine into the kind of icon against which its irrepressible iconoclasm was directed".
This is a separate observation to saying such views don't deserve protection. Free-speech never meant omnipresence, people have the right to express their viewpoint, no matter how vulgar, but we're not obliged to republish it (though I have here, so you can see what I mean). Just as if a neo-Nazi came into your home and put up a poster denying the Holocaust it's not a violation of free-speech for you to tear it down. Publications and public speech is another matter. The people advocating the Muhammad cartoons be shown on the BBC and CNN are looking for a fight. They want to normalise Charlie Hebdo rather than defend it as the filthy rag it is.