— By: Alexandra Kinias —
I stand in solidarity with the victims of Charlie Hebdo and the officer who lost his life defending them, not particularly because I agree with the contents of the magazine, but because I stand for the freedom of expression. I never read the magazine and I haven’t seen its cartoons prior or post the heinous massacre that took the life of its staff.
The terrorists shouted Islamic slogans as they shot their victims in cold blood, and witnesses heard them saying that they have avenged for the Prophet who was the subject of the magazine’s satirical cartoons a while ago.
And as always, and because Islamic terrorists know the psychologies of Muslims and what strings to pull, Muslims’ sentiments flared when the name of the Prophet was mentioned as the reason behind the attack, ignoring that these same terrorists are the ones whose news of committing crimes in the name of Islam have become the world’s headlines’ news.
Some debated that the freedom of expression ends when Islam is ridiculed, forgetting that some Muslims who have no objections in insulting and criticizing the religious beliefs of the others may go as far as committing atrocious crimes to make their voice heard. And while such actions by some Muslims are done in broad daylight, the world rarely witnesses actions by Christians or Jews who go out and slaughter others for the sole purpose of avenging their faith.
People may disagree, but the truth of the matter is that Islamic terrorists choose to silence the voices of those who criticize them with bullets. For them, violence is the only way to defend their misinterpretation of Islam from those who dare to criticize their misguidance and misrepresentation of the faith.
Charlie is not just the 12 French victims. Charlie is Malala Yousefzadi who was shot by the Taliban for defending the right of girls to go to school in Afghanistan. Charlie is also the Egyptian Nobel prize laureate Nagib Mafouz who was stabbed by an illiterate radical who was told that the author insulted God and his Prophet in one of his novels. It is the Egyptian professor and columnist Farag Foda who was assassinated in 1992 by the hands of the Islamic Jihad group after he wrote a series of articles condemning the growth of radical Islam. And last but not least, Charlie is the Dutch film director Theo Van Gogh who was stabbed to death in broad daylight for producing and directing the short movie Submission which criticized the way women were treated in Islam.
Je suis Charlie was created as a symbol to denounce not merely the terrorist attack by Islamists on the staff of the magazine, but specifically the attack on the freedom of expression. And after the dust settled, Charlie became nothing more than yet another brick in the tall wall that separates the East and West.
And while French people and other countries in the west are standing in unity to protect their freedom of speech, the atrocities and crimes that were committed in the name of Islam and the Prophet were again minimized by many Muslims whose faith have been globally insulted in more severe ways, by the hands of Islamists who hijacked their faith, than by stupid cartoons.
It is quite shameful that while many Muslims understand the core reasons that justify the acts of Islamic terrorists, they are still blaming the west for its creation. And the adoption of such attitude merely feeds the division and cultural clash that widens the gap between the East and the West.
Although I have received several death threats and I am still receiving hate mail for what I write, I will not remain silent against attacks targeting freedom of expression.
“Je suis Charlie.”