Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Muslim's View on the Charlie Hebdo attack on the French magazine in France and Freedom of Speech and Expression

This is defferent to what I usually post, but I would like to put forth my opinion on what's happening in France at the moment. 

First and foremost, as Muslims we entirely condemn such violence even though we may disagree with the offensive content published by the magazine, which is in no way a justified reaction. Islam is a religion of mercy that encourages us to tolerate and overlook, and does infact promote free thinking and questioning

When the media insinuate that the attack ‘struck’ freedom of speech and expression, the underlying hypocrisy is not being considered. It seems that only when Muslims are involved that this topic arises. 

In 2013, the French government outright banned the burqa, where was freedom of expression then? Another example is when the French president who currently keeps emphasising freedom of expression, himself supported the banning of the comedian Dieudonne M’bala because he was too controversial and was categorized as anti-semite. Where was his right for “freedom of speech even if it may cause offence” then?! Another example, a few months back the French government banned pro-palastine protests, while allowing pro-israeli protests. Clearly you can see the double standards? 

Freedom of speech seems to only be a big deal when it runs against the government’s interests or what they consider acceptable… Hence, all this emphasis on freedom of speech falls apart and you can see what could be refered to as censorship being applied. This is why I feel Muslims are victimized. 

Why is it that when Muslims are offended we are told to get over it but when another community is offended, as per the Jewish people and the pro-israeli people, the French government outright supports banning it – can you see the double standards?  As a Muslim, I’m content with freedom of speech but clearly there is no consistency or fairness, and it seems like the media loves villainizing the whole religion.  If other religions can be protected from offence why are Muslims not?!  

This is in no way justifying what the terrorists did, this is not what Islam teaches. Infact if you look it up, investigations about the suspects, Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi,  showed they had never even been inside their mosque, and went out drinking and clubbing which is not what a practicing Muslim does. 

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