Opinion

Charlie Hebdo Turns Its Back On Muslims, Plans New Prophet Muhammad Cartoons

Charlie Hebdo Turns Its Back On Muslims, Plans New Prophet Muhammad Cartoons

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A Muslim cop died responding to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office.

A Muslim cashier saved a dozen hostages after a gunman entered a Jewish supermarket in the east of Paris.

A Muslim security official led the police operation that resulted in the deaths of the two Kouachi brothers who killed 12 people, including seven journalists working for Charlie Hebdo.

Nevertheless, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer has just declared that this week’s edition of the satirical magazine will “defiantly feature caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad,” that are aimed at “obviously” lampooning the Prophet.

Why? According to the lawyer, Charlie Hebdo will “cede nothing” to terrorists and extremists seeking to silence their voice.

Have Charlie Hebdo’s staff quickly forgotten the show of support from the Muslim population of France, and the Muslim world, against extremism?

From every day Muslims in Europe, children in Palestine and Lebanon, to Al-Azhar and the Arab League, Muslims across the globe joined together in declaring their stance against terrorism.

Despite the ironies (of attending a rally aimed at promoting free speech), Muslim world leaders, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the UAE’s Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and many others all traveled to Paris to attend the Paris Unity March against terrorism.

News channels all showed Muslim community figures standing side-by-side with Jewish community figures in condemning terrorism. #JeSuisCharlie posters appeared in mosques and on the social media account of Muslims.

Every corner of the Muslim world condemned the Paris Massacre. Yet, if the lawyer’s statements are true, Charlie Hebdo has decided to declare war against Islam, not terrorism.

Instead of “lampooning” the several thousand terrorists that exist among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, Charlie Hebdo is lampooning every single Muslim, the majority of whom stood with Charlie Hebdo when their free speech was under attack.

Releasing cartoons that focus on the Prophet Muhammad will undoubtedly create divisions, days after France witnessed its largest ever march.

In publishing such “satirical” material, Charlie Hebdo ignores the passionate plea against anti-Islam sentiment made by the family of Ahmed Merabet:

“My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two false Muslims…Islam is a religion of peace and love. As far as my brother’s death is concerned it was a waste. He was very proud of the name Ahmed Merabet, proud to represent the police and of defending the values of the Republic – liberty, equality, fraternity.”

The message should be one of unity, not divisions.
The message should be one of unity, not divisions.

The fight against terrorism is not won by further alienating Muslims. Alienation of Muslims quickly spread across France, with more than 50 attacks against Muslims since the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Charlie Hebdo should not be adding fuel to the fire, and increasing anti-Islam sentiment by mocking Islam, but extinguishing that fire.

Responsible journalism must co-exist with freedom of speech. Publishing cartoons that are degrading of the Prophet Muhammad knowing full well that they will heighten anti-Islam sentiment further, particularly in Europe where right-wing and anti-immigration parties have held increasingly strong anti-Islam rallies, is irresponsible.

Muslims stood with Charlie Hebdo, and their right to free speech, despite the magazine’s constant ridicule of their faith. The first edition after the Paris Massacre should not be one that refuses to disassociate terrorism from Islam, but one that recognises that the world’s Muslims are against terrorism in all its forms.

Is it irresponsible of Charlie Hebdo to publish anti-Islam cartoons a week after the Paris massacre?

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  • Intellectualist

    I only saw the cover but my impression was that it was heartfelt expression of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims and the Prophet they worship as opposed to a gun toting terrorist prophet so many radicals envision.As for the content, I pass by shelves of publications I care not to read. It isn’t my belief or any others’ to kill the people who work there.

  • AzzaSedky

    Yes, it is. A couple of years back I wrote “Shame” http://azzasedky.typepad.com/egypt/2012/09/shame.html
    If I, a sane, nonthreatening, and peaceful person, found the cartoons offensive, how about the insane extremists. Let’s not antagonize one another.

    • Al

      Making fun of man-made ferry tales (such as religions and their symbols) is more than acceptable. Just because some people find something offensive, doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t like what the magazine does, don’t read it.

  • Z-Man

    The idea that the writer is characterizing this as “turning their back on Muslims” is
    ridiculous. It is this kind of mentality and vocabulary that incites differences upon peoples. You cannot expect people to respect this idea that you cannot even portray, the head of some religious organization. It is an archaic and inherently repressive perspective. The idea that you think it is reasonable to refrain from posting images or discussing issues because of it’s sanctimoniousness, is
    bedazzling. Especially when you think you have the right to enforce a restriction of speech upon persons or people who do not even hold those ideas.

    When a radical extremist tells you to do something, like not post a picture of their prophet, and you listen and do not post the image. Then you have been successfully terrorized. You have succumb to the fear of a group of minority
    fanatics who utilize violence, for no other other reason than to force people through fear into behavioral & intellectual submission. You turn into a coward. You create a psychological paradigm, in your social structure, where your whole society faces enormous social stagnation because of it’s inability to progress on
    ideas. Due to the fear induced by fanatics, who are willfully using violence to restrain the discussion.

    Now we sit here, with people having the audacity, and not the reason and logic to think that; the idea that one is not allowed to portray a religious icon because of some form of blasphemy is single-handedly one the most ridiculous ideas to
    hold. The idea that a whole society, has willfully, induced a form of ignorance on a subject because of how the culture created a form of idea regulation.

    The series of problems from the middle east comes from the lack of diversity in ideas because of the willfulness and consent of using violence towards people who hold ideas that are outside the framework of ‘acceptable.’ Whether it is
    the state, utilizing state sponsored violence upon people who disobeyed these obscure, outdated, and clearly discriminatory laws of blasphemy, or random groups which act in a vigilante manner, trying to regulate ideas is WRONG. It is counter-productive, and in turn self-destructive towards the society, and individual, that does so.

Opinion
@khairatmk

Mohamed Khairat is the Founder and Chief Editor of Egyptian Streets.

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