WITH reference to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine staff, there is no such a thing as absolute freedoms. Our freedoms are always limited and balanced by other considerations.
Also, one cannot look at freedom of expression in isolation, but within the context of current geo-politics. One must look at the total “clash of civilisations” and Islamophobic paradigm in France in particular and the western world in general.
Freedom of expression is a double-edged sword. If you want your freedom to express, then also give me my freedom to express.
But in the US, there are many Muslims languishing in jail for that very reason: they expressed themselves verbally and in writing which went against the ruling pro-Zionist paradigm. If you want your freedom to mock, then also give me my freedom to mock.
But if I live in Europe or the US and mock the holocaust, I will get locked up. But if the prophet is mocked by means of despicable cartoons and blatant lies, then I must just accept it and move on.
People will say the former is historical fact and the latter is part of press freedom. But I disagree, I also have historical proof of the prophet’s existence and his mission.
Denying the holocaust is a lie, similarly depicting the prophet in a cartoon based on lies is also a lie. Westerners don’t know that Islam was born in a paradigm of idolatry and a strict law was implemented straight away not to depict God, the prophet or his closest companions in pictorial form.
It was seen how depicting God and the prophet Isa (Jesus) in pictorial form in Christianity contributed to the evolution of Jesus from a prophet to a son of God over a period of 325 years. So it is not only about mocking Islam and its prophet which is relevant, but the cartoon is also contrary to a basic idolatry law of Islam.
In fact we have not only a geo-political clash of civilisations and a clash of prejudices, but also a clash of laws.
When 2 000-plus Gazans are massacred in their own land by settlers coming from Eastern Europe and North America, and who commit all kinds of horrendous war crimes backed by a US veto, then not a murmur from western leaders and the western media. But when 12 people are gunned down in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, then the western world’s leaders and their media scream blue murder.
Are the lives of 12 largely white Frenchmen more valuable than that of the 2 000-plus Gazan Arabs? The same thing happened in Iraq when Isis was beheading Arabs all the time and not a murmur, but as soon as a single white western hostage was beheaded, then the air force was sent in to bomb Isis.
Unless we remove this blatant racism and double standards from international law, we will always be subject to terrorism because terrorists will resort to terrorism if they know there is no justice in the system. In France itself, there is a cloud of Islamophobia hanging over the country which was fostered by the French government when it banned the burka.
I cannot understand how banning the burka frees anyone or affects anyone. If these women want to wear the burka and no one is forcing them, not their husbands nor their religion, then let them do so.
In Islam, only a scarf to cover the hair is compulsory. But how can we have freedom of expression in France when we don’t even have the freedom of religious expression?
-Naushad Omar, East London