Last week #JeSuisAhmed trended on Twitter after it was found out a Muslim police officer died in the Charlie Hebdo attacks. He was trending because although Charlie Hebdo mocked his faith, he still did his job and fought terrorism. He stood up for the people that mocked him and fought against terrorism, whom also hijack Islam. (I post #ابا احمد because that is "Je Suis Ahmed" or "I am Ahmed" in Arabic.) I do NOT stand with France because I do not like the way the French outlaw certain Muslim practices like the hijab or niqab or any of that. I do not like how they spread Islamophobia, but it seems like that's true all over the West. I dislike Islamophobia - Islam is part of the monotheistic faith system: Islam's brothers are Christianity and Judaism, though Islam is more related to Judaism. Because terrorists have hijacked Islam, many Western nations group all Muslims as terrorists and condemn it as a faith system that needs to be killed. More later on how I think things should be handled.
This morning on the news, I heard Pope Francis address his thoughts on this terror attack. He was quoted as saying, "every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person." However, he goes on to condemn the violence - "one cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one's own religion, that is, in the name of God. To kill in the name of God is an aberration." (credit: Pope Francis Speaks Out [Time Magazine]) I agree with the Pope. I do NOT condone terrorism, but I don't support people who mock religion in such a way that is bullying. What Charlie Hebdo was doing was straight out bullying. I do NOT support people who satirize Muhammad sitting on a bomb or is a bomb or whatever violent way he's drawn in. Drawing Muhammad or any prophet (Jesus included) in Islam is idoltry. Yes, Muslims don't have to read it. However, when you're drawing Muhammad in such a manner that incites more Islamophobia, I'm sorry, I don't support that. Those drawings that incite Islamophobia feed the public more fear instead of people taking the time to learn about Islam and seeing there's not much to fear about that - the tenant of that faith is similar to the Monotheistic religions and people would see that Muslims aren't out to kill them.
I really agree with Kiersten over on She Is Fierce with her take on Charlie Hebdo and Freedom of Speech. Her comment of "Since the attacks last week, the Internet has swelled with support for a magazine that has spent years paying its dues by treating people with disrespect based solely on their religious beliefs. While I recognize the rights to free speech and press as being two of the greatest rights we’ve been given, and ones which we cannot take for granted or dismiss, I also recognize that as human beings we should see a limit to those rights. A line we will not cross, despite the realization that we can." really resided with me because that's how I feel about the whole thing. Yes, it's great that we have freedom of speech and I'm glad for that right. However, there are limits to that freedom. For example we can't yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater or we will be arrested or make false claims to police officers, 911 operators, under testimony in court and even there are limits in journalism. Freedom of Speech isn't technically free and it has limits. Kiersten's ending to her blog is what I have been saying for years about satire magazines' takes on Islam: "Because without our ever realizing it, thousands of people take the covers of Charlie Hebdo and other similar media representations to heart, an excuse to prosecute and condemn those people being targeted. " They capitalize on Islamophobia and sadly, there are people who take that to heart and will hurt innocent people. Even the response of Charlie Hebdo's editor shows how stuck up and narrow minded he was... he knew he was going to die and he didn't care! As I said about the protesters in the Ferguson case, the IDGAF or the "I don't care" attitude really bothers me. We should care about people and we should not alienate people.
I also like what one young woman commented on Kiersten's blog: "People have been taking this and turning it into an issue of freedom of speech when it really is a hate crime towards Muslims. The blame of this incident should also not fall on the shoulders of the Muslim people, which is what is being done. Christians aren't asked if they support the actions of their religious extremists. The disrespect shown cannot be forgiven even though it is a tragedy that it happened. ". It's sadly true. I think terrorists have hijacked Islam, but I think terrorists have also hijacked Christianity and Judaism in the past too - which it seems like people have forgotten. I think Christianity does have that problem to an extent, but Islamic terrorism is reported more. Instead of Islamophobia, I think WE as a society should figure out why young people turn to terrorism in the first place. I know when I used to read about some terrorists, many of them have come from very poor areas and didn't have opportunities like other people have. Maybe if we come together to figure out how to solve this issue of young people turning to terrorism - maybe the discussion of the economy and our society as a whole - needs to be had. I think if we come together despite faiths, backgrounds, etc. and better things in the Western world, maybe we can nip things in the bud a bit more. I don't think religion is the problem, but I think some people feel like they don't have a voice and feel hopeless, so they turn to something that might make them powerful. I think we need to figure that solution out.
As I posted on Twitter last Friday, I love this Voltaire quote and I think it sums this up well: It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one.