My name is Rabiu Alhassan. I am Muslim and I condemn the killing of the 12 cartoonists with Charlie Hebdo network in France.
I say this not to appease anyone because I don’t owe the world any responsibility to do so.
I abhor violence and there is no justification what so ever to kill in the name of faith. I am sure Islam makes that clear enough.
I am not an authority or anything of that sort in Islam but I am sure the majority of the close to 2 billion Muslims around the world shares my view.
The two gunmen Said and Cherif Kouachi or the minority who choose to engage in violence in so called defense of Islam do not represent the religion. I’m sure it’s been said time without number.
But you refuse to learn and read about the message of Islam. You refuse to acknowledge the good actions of the millions of Muslims around the world. Rather you deliberately and ignorantly want to make the minority to represent the majority.
Why should we take responsibility for the stupid actions of a handful?
Freedom of the press
I am a journalist and will forever protect the freedom of the press. The media is the key to maintaining balance in society. We need the hard and soft news, critiquing of the status quo, the sports and the jokes. More so in a liberal democratic country like France.
The French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo has the right to do as they please in their drawings. They can and do draw about any religion including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, among other world religions.
But when should they also consider the sensibilities of other faiths in whatever they do?
Or they only sack workers deemed to have been Anti-Semitic in their works?
That could be positive though. It meant they don’t encourage hatred against a particular religion.
But what about those drawings by Charlie Hebdo stereotyping Muslims as violent and depicting Prophet Mohammed as a suicide bomber, homosexual or a pedophile?
Are they not offensive and do the not promote Islamophobia and hatred towards Muslims?
I’m not sure anyone has been sacked yet for any such drawings??
The white house in 2012 had criticized some of the works of Charlie Hedbo with the then Press Secretary Jay Carney saying , “We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this”.
Meanwhile the President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the US Bill Donohue in a recent statement has said “Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction,”
Jeff Sparrow, the editor of Overland Literary Journal succinctly captures my position in his article titled, “we can defend Charlie Hebdo without endorsing it”, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-09/sparrow-we-should-support-charlie-hebdo-not-endorse-it/6007836 .
Who told you your help was needed
There is no justification for the killing of the 12 journalists.
They had the right to do what they were doing but I challenge the judgment of Charlie Hebdo to consistently court public disaffection towards Islam and Muslims.
As for the minority of Muslims around the world who choose violent means to defend Islam, who told you your help was needed.
The Qur’an said IQRA-read.