No equality for Muslims in France

Attack on Paris newspaper staff

While much of the world has condemned the killers of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper staff in Paris, and with whose families we sincerely sympathise, let’s examine what could possibly have caused such behaviour?

Could it not have been extreme, irrational provocation and intolerance?

Almost like the provocation and intolerance of that repressive apartheid regime in our country?

France was founded ostensibly on the principles liberty, equality and fraternity after the French Revolution.

As a colonial power, it subjugated much of the Muslim north and even central Africa, including Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia, Senegal, and Mali, and more.

In this process it killed their peoples, ruined their institutions of religion, education, trade and culture, with no apology, and left them with crazed despots ruling thereafter.

Those mainly Muslim emigrants from these ex-colonies who sought economic opportunities in France found that liberty, equality and fraternity was exclusively for the white Frenchmen and women.

They were, and still are, marginalised, downtrodden, shoved into ghettos, subjected to institutional racism, racial discrimination in governmental services, job opportunities and social spheres, now even to the point of restricting personal and religious freedom as with the burqa ban.

France’s value of “freedom of expression” today, also allows an openly racist so-called satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo to thrive.

This paper has a long and repugnant history of going way beyond lampooning especially religious figures.

While they claim to attack all people equally, their cartoons are intentionally and consistently anti-Islam, and also often sexist and homophobic.

Their evil and vile depictions of the prophet Mohammed are meant to provoke this marginalised immigrant Muslim population group.

They have even depicted this revered prophet in pornographic poses. Why?

The staff of Charlie Hebdo consists totally of white French nationals, and its cartoons quite often portray a “particularly virulent brand of French xenophobia” while purporting to be satire.

In 2012, after the Charlie Hebdo offices were fire-bombed for a similar lampooning of Mohammed, when the publisher Stephane Chabonnier was asked why he insulted Muslims, he replied: “Mohammed isn’t sacred to me.”

In accordance with our frame of reference in all affairs as Muslims, the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed demand that we do not sanction any violence or unlawful extrajudicial killings anywhere.

Neither does Islam sanction absolute freedom of speech as is the case with the humanly written US constitution and European law.

At the same time, Islam does not stifle academic discussion about the tenets of faith or inquiry based on intellectual or theological grounds, as long as this does not espouse blasphemy, libel or mockery.

We also support the freedom of all to speak the truth, but do not support any legal right or supposed moral right for people to mock the prophets.

We condemn racism, injustice, totalitarianism, fascism and killing of innocents in any manner or form.

Now I ask, in respect of this matter at hand, whose intolerance will you selectively condone?

The world needs justice and tolerance. “O mankind! We created you from a [single pair of] male and female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know [and interact with] one another [and not despise one another]. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is he who is the most righteous among you.” (Koran, Ch 49, V 13).

– Ebrahim Mayet, Islam Awareness Centre

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