Saturday, January 17, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Reveals Failure in Understanding Values

The armed attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris was an act of violence that does not have any justification in human’s civilization anymore.  Those carrying out the attack meant to infuse a vicious circle of hatred and divide, and may have succeeded in doing so.  However, as common citizens of this world we need to avoid pointing fingers and instead unite as the one human race against this vicious aim. 

Violence is not a response to such acts, especially if those targeted are innocent civilians.  If this happens, it perfectly serves intention of those that want to instill hatred.  A more responsible response would be to identify the cause of such incidents and unite together to confront it.   

The unfortunate incidents in Paris, however, outlined two important lessons that all need to learn:

First is for the liberal western world where freedom of speech and the press are hard earned values.  While every human-being has a right to express their views, this freedom, even in humor, should responsibly encourage respect, unity, understanding and trust among the entire public, not otherwise.  Freedom of speech could be more effective if it is address resolving social issues such grievance, inequality and discrimination. 

Second is for the Muslim world that constantly faces incidents of offensive media messages regarding their faith.  Such messages or drawings are usually produced by non-Muslims who have limited understanding of their Abrahamic religion.  The response to such messages or drawings cannot and must not be violence.  Islam does not allow that.  Instead the Muslim world should respond to such incidents with care, respect and tolerance.  

They could be much more effective if they start educating and show to the non-muslim world that their religion is peace and that it is the same as that of Prophet Abraham, who built the Kabba in Mecca.  And that Muslims recite five times in their prayers every day that “Oh God! bless us Muslims as you have blessed Abraham and his sons.”  Also, that it is our faith not to depict the prophet or God for it can lead to worship of human made idolatry, forbidden in Islam.

If all sides learn these lessons and put more effort into building their understanding of each others values, we may be able to unite against violence and live in a peaceful and just world, otherwise, even cartoons can incite violence, fear and divide.

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