The protests against lousy and filthy video mocking the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were still on that exactly after eighth day CARTOON from French satirical magazine “CHARLIE HEBDO” is pouring oil on the fiery debate between freedom of expression and offensive provocation. It will obviously add more stir in the violence. In such coordinated episodes against Islam and its Founder will widen the gap of existing misunderstandings between the two civilizations and this all will deteriorate the situation in this world. How can one even visualize having peace in these prevailing circumstances?
The Muslims at large and particularly in France are scapegoat for the national problems. There have been tensions in growing Muslim minority last year when it banned the use of Islamic Veils/Hijab claiming it degrading and security risk. Majority of the neutral readers believe that it is a coordinated and organized effort. Sometimes it is Denmark, next Belgium passed similar legislation, and Switzerland was not lagging behind that it banned the building of minarets of mosques.
Some take it as a provocation to French Muslims, while others have accused the magazine of going for cheep attention. Any depiction of Islam’s Prophet (SAW) is considered blasphemy by Muslims. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with almost 4.7 million followers. Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Becile and Luz this time represent the same mind and demonstrate thoughts agitating mainstream Muslim opinion worldwide deliberately.
Head of the Grand Mosque in Paris, Dalil Boubakeur, condemned the cartoons “in the strongest possible terms” and expressed surprise that the magazine was running new Muhammad (SAW) cartoons after its offices were attacked the last time it did so. “To repeat the same stupidity, the same idiocy and the same calumnies, the same ignominy seems to us to be nearly psychotic action,” he said.
Since November the cartoonist Luz who drew the cover has been under police protection once magazine’s offices were burned because it opted to publish a cover making fun of Islamic law. The cover featured a bearded and turbaned cartoon figure of Muhammad (SAW) saying, “100 lashes if you’re not dying of laughter.”
Just note down the language of Director of the French magazine saying, his staff is “not really fueling the fire” but rather using its freedom of expression “to comment the news in a satirical way.” Where as Charlie Hebdo journalist Laurent Leger said the magazine did not intend to provoke anger or violence. “The aim is to laugh,” Leger said. “We want to laugh at the extremists — every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, And Catholic. Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept.” Leger defended the magazine, saying it was within its rights and not responsible for people’s reactions. “In France, we always have the right to write and draw. And if some people are not happy with this, they can sue us and we can defend ourselves. That’s democracy. You don’t throw bombs; you discuss, you debate. But you don’t act violently. We have to stand and resist pressure from extremism.” He forgets the limits of freedom of speech and the sense of responsibility.
On the other hand French Prime Minister Ayrault expressed his support for the freedom of press, but he said there are limits as I wrote above. “We have a free press that can express itself right up to the point of caricature,” Ayrault said Tuesday. “But there is also a question of responsibility.” West including France forgets or it doesn’t want to understand deliberately the feelings of Muslims. It is sort of threatening when he assured the public that “all the precautions will be taken” to maintain order.
It is deliberate and offensive provocation, to insult the Prophet of Islam, or protecting the right of speech in the Western Society or merely an unpleasant effort to increase the sale of the magazine. As some lady compared it to the French magazine that printed topless photos of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. “Like printing tawdry pictures of Catherine Middleton — lowbrow rating booster,” she said. The cartoons were a cynical attempt to inflate sales. She disputed the magazine’s position that it just wants to provoke laughter and express its right to free speech.”No it isn’t. It’s for ratings,” she said.
Muslims need to be careful and strongly refuse to be a pawn in a broader game of Imperialism to secure its vested interests even it has to deliberately insult beliefs, feelings and wishes of Muslims to incite the hate, anger, and violence in the world and still hiding itself behind the curtain of “Freedom of free Speech”. Who will be looser at the end? Both sides, surely. There is strong need to educate both sides to have peace in the human race.