Charlie, Muslims & Me

paris protests

Well, I hardly need to explain the title and the background news story. Shocking on so many levels for so many people.  24 hour rolling news, debates across current affairs programmes had almost every angle covered.

In homes and offices over the world the general public debated the meaning of freedom of speech. What does freedom of speech mean to you? The freedom to offend? Standing up for the rights of other people you disagree with to offend? Why should all Muslims apologise for the crimes of crazy people or reassure others that we are not terrorists?

I’m part of a Muslim family in Britain so what was our reaction? Slightly different across the generations.  Of course there was wholehearted disgust at the terrorists, no one should come to harm in the name of any religion and these self-appointed representatives are deluded.

Second, a niche publication such as Charlie Hebdo has a very small audience and an even smaller marketing budget. They provoke and insult all religions not just Islam but Islam is the religion that guarantees  outrage and hysteria and guaranteed free publicity from other media.

Third, in my humble opinion, I hope this attack marks a coming of age for Muslims around the world to learn to be more tolerant and simply ignore people that provoke in order to relish the reaction. When Charlie Hebdo insulted Christianity and Judaism in the same manner with insulting cartoons did we hear about it? No, because followers of those religions don’t have violent and immature reactions. That is the best way to democratically protest against the publication of offensive material (if indeed you find it offensive in the first place).

If Muslims repeatedly ignore and stay calm to future provocations my theory is Charlie Hebdo will stop printing them.

Finally, my response to Sajid Javed (British MP) and Rupert Murdoch et al who demand that all Muslims apologise for terrorism or help to combat it I say this: Irish people were not represented by the IRA, white men don’t have to apologise for a disproportionate number being involved in paedophilia.  Muslims pay taxes like any other citizen in order that government agencies do their job to combat crime. Terrorism or crimes in the name of religion need professional intervention, compelling communities to identify terrorists smacks of witch hunts and the historic persecutions of communists in the USA.


3 Comments to “Charlie, Muslims & Me”

  1. It’s a topic that certainly does fire up emotions. But it seems that every country in the world is censoring the news in order to reach their own goals. What happens to freedom of speech when national security is apparently at risk? Governments chop and change their ideas all the time depending on whether the agenda suits them or not.
    As for Muslims becoming more tolerant, and coming from a Muslim background, I really do hope that some good can come out of it. Many countries seemed to have regressed in the last 20 years or so though… Pakistan with its blasphemy laws, Boko Haram running havoc in the name of religion in Nigeria, IS in Syria. What’s scares me the most is the amount of support that these groups have. How disenfranchised do you have to be with your life and society to think these guys are right?? Anyway, that’s a different issue.

    Finally, being asked to be held to account for something that has got nothing to do with me – what else should we add to the list? Being a woman and working but not having children and therefore adding to population decline is one I heard recently. How about growing up in a poorer community and not giving back to it by going to visit all my old friends who are now crack addicts? Yup, someone tried to make me feel guilty for that too. If we start that, the list could go on forever.

    Going back to the point, Charlie Hebdo had been taken to court multiple time for inciting hatred and for printing inflammatory images – the French justice minister (who is black) as a monkey anyone? There are four outstanding court cases against them. If people have been hurt or offended by Charlie Hebdo, the best way to get justice is to hurt their pocket and put them out of business.

    • Thanks for your comment! I wonder if another rich Saudi (like Bin Laden) is up to no good, IS is reported to have excellent funding.
      Pakistan regressing is also connected to Saudi money and Wahabi Islam, the historian and travel writer William Dalrymple has often pointed to the money trail and the demise of liberal Pakistani practices.

  2. Excellent article.

    I personally believe the attack had nothing to the cartoons. There are several right wing publications in Paris who champion the government to start wars in Islamic countries (to use one example) but those terrorists didn’t attack them, probably as the level of security would be higher.

    Charlie Hebdo, unfortunately, was an easier target. I believe the cartoon in question was printed years ago.

    I am a Muslim and I feel so far removed from those disgusting men. It is weird, we distance ourselves from them by saying they are not Muslims and they say the same about us.

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