Every time someone ‘insults the religious sentiments’ of Muslims, ‘freedom of speech’ comes into the spotlight. From Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses to the YouTube video ‘Innocence of Muslims’ fatwas from all over the Muslim World have been slashed on the heads of those who ‘misuse’ their freedom of speech to ‘insult Islam’.
However, when someone implements those very fatwas at the cost of human life, the handful of moderate Muslims defensively bellow that the act has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. The barefaced deceit gets the backing of the liberal left of the West, that gets extra brownie points for speaking up about the self-inflicted ‘marginalisation of Muslims’, most of whom continue to avoid befriending ‘Jews and Christians’ because their scripture ostensibly prohibits it.
And so when the Charlie Hebdo office was attacked in Paris last week, everything from France’s occupation of Algeria over half a century ago to the economic disparity between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country was touted as the raison d’etre. Fingers have been pointed everywhere except at the awkward truth that the majority of Muslims around the world, and their version of Islam, endorse killing ‘blasphemers’.
It is the same version that is practised, among many other Muslim countries, in Saudi Arabia, where Islam originated and where the entire Muslim world goes to offer pilgrimage. The same country, facing which all Muslims offer salat; where Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger, has been punished with 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ – the same ‘crime’ that Charlie Hebdo’s satirists committed. The same crime that is officially punishable by death in 13 countries – all Muslim states.
If there were a worldwide survey about the punishment that Charlie Hebdo journalists deserved for drawing and promoting those cartoons, the answer of the majority of the Muslim world is common knowledge, should we prefer being honest about it. And when the majority of the Muslims and almost all of the Islamic clergy are ‘misinterpreting’ the text identically, obviously the intelligibility of the scriptures comes under scrutiny.
The majority of Muslims would consider the honest Muslim reformist a ‘blasphemer’ for daring to interpret the scripture a certain way
The majority of Muslims would consider the honest Muslim reformist a ‘blasphemer’ for daring to interpret the scripture a certain way. There is no concept of reform without criticism. It’s the same criticism that all other religions have gone through resulting in them shunning aspects of their scripture.
And so is it really honest to dub the Islamist theological understanding ‘misinterpretation’ when it is by far the most popular interpretation of Islam?
Orthodox interpretation of all religions, especially Abrahamic religions, unequivocally condemns dissent and mockery – which is an integral part of freedom of speech. There is no freedom of speech if there isn’t the freedom to offend.
Every time someone gets attacked for offending Islam, the apologists blame the victim for being attacked. “There should be freedom of speech, but it does not mean that we start insulting religious sentiments,” seems to be the popular concept of free speech in the aftermath of Islamist attacks on those mocking Islam.
Even the 12 dead bodies of Charlie Hebdo journalists – who ‘asked for it’ like a woman who’s provocatively dressed ‘asks to be’ sexually assaulted – didn’t change the apologists’ stance that the publication incited Muslims and is hence to blame. Because of course, just like it’s unfair to expect men to keep their emotions under control at the sight of a woman’s skin, it’s too much to expect Muslims to not kill people, or ask for them to be killed, when their religious sentiments are hurt.
By that logic all Muslims and their scriptures would be ‘asking to be’ attacked by orthodox Christians for refusing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the son of God, or for the ubiquitous bile being spewed against Hinduism, especially in Pakistan.
Would the apologists be consistent in their argument if Hindu or Christian extremists started butchering Muslims because they disrespected their God? What about the nonreligious folk – the nonbelievers that have eternal hellfire sanctioned for them by almost every religious scripture? Should they retaliate with violence after taking offence at the fact that the deity absolutely despises them?
All religions are offensive to every other religion. All counterarguments are offensive to some degree to the original arguments. Clamouring for freedom of speech with an asterisk that shushes up the right to offend, points towards a world where everyone thinks alike and there’s no freedom of conscience or thought. It should come as no surprise that this is precisely the kind of world most of the Muslim world is, as things stand.
Whenever the aforementioned asterisk is used to suggest that religions should remain immune from the ‘downside’ of freedom of speech, it’s basically Islam that is demanding extra protection. For, if the safeguards of religious sentiments were consistent in their argument, the Muslim world would be the first to be condemned for constantly and relentlessly deriding all other religions.
Instead of asking Muslims to take criticism like other religious communities, we are redefining freedom of speech for the worse. And Muslims seem to be happy fuelling the stereotype that depicts them as savages that can’t seem to control their emotions when they are offended.
A thought provoking daring honest analysis.
###For, if the safeguards of religious sentiments were consistent in their argument, the Muslim world would be the first to be condemned for constantly and relentlessly deriding all other religions.###
Rightly spoken . Untill at least our liberal Muslim comrades are not going to stop having double-standards ,these problems will continue. For eg. Subramaniam Swamy’s non-sense or some Hindu-hardliners reacting towards pK proves much media attention in Pakistan , then does Communal & Supremacist views expressed by some of its own “liberal” mediapersons (not a fanatic) as follows :
When some fanatical Hindus spews hate against Indian muslims or Christians or makes a word or two on Hindu-Supremacism, the media their covers it ,the left-leaning ppl react with protests or articles & soon that hate statement becomes a matter of discussion even in Pakistani media too .
But when such Islamo-supremacism is openly evoked on Pakistan’s national media by an educated “so-called” liberal person , it remains obscure not just in Indian liberal circles (they are justified there) but also in Pakistan’s liberal circles.
It only highlights that many liberal muslims (though not all) would point towards Christianity’s inquisitions or Hinduism’s Casteism etc , but they are not ready to listen to criticism of Islam .To condone them ,even we must remain Apologetic to Islam , despite our own criticality towards our own religions of birth.
I request Liberal Muslims too kindly wake up to their own double-standards.
The intolerance within the different sects ( sunni, shia, ahmedi, etc) is pitting one muslim against the other. Killing & murdering each other is common in Syria, iraq and even Pakistan.
Killing Christans, Hindus, Jews – this is not Islam! This is murder.
The staff of Charlie Hebdo was arrogant and insensitive, because publishing their contempt for a man revered as a Prophet by two billion Muslims was a deliberate cobsistent effort to hurt, for no purpose whatsoever.Though most Muslims would not murder them, yet all would undoubtedly be upset.
They were stupid, because they could not see the probability of extremist retaliation despite a firebombing and threats requiring police to post guards at their offices.
However, their murder is a completely disproportionate reaction to their stupidity, arrogance and insensitivity and is rightly condemned.
Laws against hate speech are there to restrain the abuse of freedom of speech.
Racism concealed behind freedom of speech is still hate speech. It makes some people feel belittled, not loved, and where is the point in that? It needs to be firmly discouraged. More love, less claims of superiority if we are to live together as happy people sharing the earth.
It will take time for you to understand that the charlie hebdo guys were freedom fighters. – they were fighting for your freedom as much as their own. Just look at a country like saudi arabia and you will know what I mean – it might be an extreme example – but when you begin to censor, there is no limit and it is a road that leads to a clampdown on creativity in the long run
may i ask what do u mean by dressed provocatively? If u are from asia and u end up in some western nation , are u going to rape everyone there? there is a thing called human decency, if u dont have it u r called a brute. This article is a shame to all the muslims u r trying to defend. I have known muslims all my life and they love their religion like we do but i dont recollect any of them fanatically practicing islam.Religion should make u better not make u forget basic humanness.
I disagree with your statement that all religions are offensive to every other religion. Hinduism truly believes that the paths to discover God are many and they are all valid. It is not unusual for a Hindu to light a candle in a neighbourhood church, visit a dargah and pray to the pantheon of Hindu gods with no sense of fear, guilt or betrayal. The Indic religions pursue truth above everything. How you reach that desired state is your business. In the desire to prove that your religion is superior to someone else’s, the essence of that religion is lost. Also, you become vulnerable to the taunts and criticisms of other religionists. If a Hindu prays to any or all Gods, it is because his faith embraces that Supreme Being. It is not that his faith is weak, it is because his belief is generous. And even if he is an atheist, his quest for the ultimate truth will not be scoffed at.
No madam , Brahminical Hindu Religions & Philosophical schools not just contradict each othet but denounce each other vehemently.
What you are talking about is non-Brahminical Bhakti religions , period.
many valid points. but lot of fallacies too.
0. the blasphemy fatwas. where do they come from.. are they from any prominent Islamic scholars? or some random dude on YouTube. Cite at least one Islamic scholar on Charlie incident.
1. whenever you say ‘majority’, back it up with statistics. otherwise it could be your assumption.
2. Saudi Arabia is not what Muslims consider as the ideal Islamic country. Indeed ‘majority’ of Muslims think its a shame that the pilgrimage sites are under Saudi monarchy.
3. You totally misplaced the asterisk. insulting is one thing; insults based on false accusations are a bit different. eg: we cannot depict Gandhi as a barbaric psychopath. thats a lie and distortion of history. And btw, insulting other religious symbols are prohibited in Islam.
lot more. but all I have to say is instead of trying to please (anti-islam)ists , you could have written it in such a way to help ‘the misguided’ Muslims correct their mistake.
The whole Europe is in the grip of social fascism because in most European countries including The Idea of Multiculturalism was rejected by the Centre Right and Conservative Political Parties. For example, Germany has a sound economy but a large number of Germans are not happy with the flow of new immigrants from Outside the Euroan Union and Within it. Holland everyday lashes on immigrants and Muslims to go home and Britain’s Ruling Conservative Party uses the card of immigration very opportunistic way when it suits to the current leadership.
Muslims and Islam, both are the target of all European Center – Right Parties and the press has to sell the hate story to justify the idea of free speech. Charlie Hebdo never politically attacked the Rulling classes of Europe and France particularly which introduced very discriminately laws against Muslim immigrants.
The free speech in 21st century is a weapon in Europe to colonise and offend those who are weaker, powerless and has no political power to defend. This is tragic fact that Muslims who left their Muslim societies and states to come to Europe for shelter and bread and butter, facing the Tyrany of discrimination and ‘Free Speech’ from the Ruling Classes.
##The whole Europe is in the grip of social fascism because in most European countries including The Idea of Multiculturalism was rejected by the Centre Right and Conservative Political Parties.##
But sir , what about Muslim countries like Pakistan , which were multi-cultural multi-religious once & today are monoliths. The idea of Multi-culturalism was rejected by all , not just the Right. Why do you always complain about others??
At the very least, you desperately need an education ib logic and rhetoric. But an elementary understanding of french colonialism wouldn’t hurt you either. Hopefully we’ll be discussing this further soon enough.