Alhamdulillah… Ultimate thanks and praises are due to the Almighty Allah. I send my sincerest peace and blessings upon the most beloved creature of all time, Ḥabībī Muhāmmad, his household, companions and all those who follow his guided path till day of judgement.
This article is an unscheduled. It comes in reaction to the #JeSuisCharlie (I’m Charlie) hash tag, which is going around online, in solidarity with the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which its office was stormed by gunmen in the broad day of 7 January 2015, killing eight of its staffers.
It was an unfortunate and unjustifiable incident. But I’m not here to apologize for it; I didn’t commit it, nor do I support such an act. However, I seek refuge in Allah to be Charlie Hebdo.
No matter what a situation is, we don’t jump into conclusions until we’ve given ourselves ample time to look at it from all positive angles. Therefore, it’s important to get to know what Charlie Hebdo is.
What is Charlie?
According to Wikipedia, Charlie Hebdo; French for Weekly Charlie, is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-racist and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics, culture, etc. It was founded in 1969, and it continued publishing until it was folded in 1981. It was however resurrected in 1992 till date.
In 2012, days after an American anti-Islam YouTube video set off deadly riots around the world, Charlie Hebdo stoked the outrage by releasing a set of cartoons that insult the prophet Muhammad, ṣallā Allāhu ‘alaihi wa sallam (peace be upon him). Even the French police requested the publication to reconsider its decision to publish those cartoons. But it defiantly declined the request. This indicates that even the state (French authorities) knew the extent the reaction to that action could go.
France claims to be a land of liberty and freedom of speech. This has allowed Charlie Hebdo to hide behind this right to grow and go immoral and inhumane to mock public figures, politicians, prophets and religions to the lowest degrading degrees. The one who mocks all religions together has no regard for God Himself. Forget about moralities and values. And this has been the choice of those behind Charlie Hebdo.
Since France is a land of freedom, Charlie Hebdo claimed, by publishing those cartoons, it didn’t mean to insult Islam as a religion, but only the fundamentals (among Muslims). This is ridiculous! Every Muslim, regardless of his sect, orientation or leaning –so long as he calls himself a Muslim, is a follower of the Prophet Muhammad. And the Prophet Muhammad is the only source through which the entire Islam was revealed. Now, how could one insult the Prophet Muhammad, and yet claim he’s not insulting him or Islam, but the fundamentals?
Why I Seek Refuge To Be Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo is a publication, which contains dozens of staffers. If Charlie Hebdo were one man, why would any Muslim want to be him? I’m sure, not even many non-Muslims would want to insult religious leaders, let alone prophets and their religions. Who’s the parent who wants to bring up his children to be satirical and destabilize communitites?
A Muslim should not, in any way, show solidarity for the any satirical who degrades human beings from their humanity and disregards others’ beliefs, faith, dignity and their other choices. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Charlie Hebdo or someone or something else. This, however, does not justify the massacre on Charlie Hebdo. Simply because a Muslim does not take the law into his own hands and carry out punishment against offenders. Only authorities have the right to make decisions to carry out punishment against offenders in criminal cases. A Muslim has to adhere to this in a Muslim country, and more so if he’s in a non-Muslim country.
I seek refuge to be anyone who mocks or bullies any other human being. More than that, I seek refuge to be anyone who has no respect for religions and its prophets. I seek refuge to be satirical. It’s unethical to depict prostitutes naked. How humane would it be to depict a person who fights evil and immoralities including prostitution? No one would stand to see his parents been depicted nor himself. What Charlie Hebdo has failed to realize is that the Prophet Muhammad is significant to Muslims more than themselves. In other words, a Muslim can accept an insult for himself, but not for the Prophet Muhammad.
In Islam, we (Muslims) are not allowed to mock idolators, who associate idols with God, so not to provoke them to insult God (not them) in return. This implies that mocking anyone’s belief can provoke him to the extreme extent.
Obviously, Charlie Hebdo has gone to the extreme in practising what it perceives as its freedom of speech. This extremism has provoked every Muslim, and has successfully invited reaction from Muslim extremists. Reaction from an extremist is (mostly) expected to be violent or aggressive. This is if we assume that the offenders were Muslims, and the motives behind their actions were to react to extremism of Charlie Hebdo.
I find the incident unfortunate and the killing unacceptable, and I stand by this position, even if the offenders were not Muslims. I seek refuge to be Charlie Hebdo, and I stand by it even if the offenders were not Muslims.
Freedom of Speech?
If you have the ability to go through the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, you are unlikely to see anything against the Jews. If they did (and they dare not), it would have been termed as anti-Semitic. But when it’s against religions including Christianity, it’s freedom of speech.
Freedom of speech does not exist so long as there’s no freedom of traffic. You have to follow the traffic lights instructions when you drive. The airplanes fly through (no-free) systematic routes. And you want to believe in freedom of speech? One’s freedom is guaranteed only when he locks himself up in the restroom alone. But the moment someone else joins him, his freedom becomes limited to the extent that would outrage that person. Say whatever you want, and depict whatever and whomever you want, but keep it in your mind and in your restroom. Once it comes out, it will involve others, and will have implications.
A freedom, which ridicules others’ faith, culture, race and colour is not a freedom. It’s racism and tribalism.
#JeSuisCharlie is a hash tag, which is used to show solidarity and support for the killed cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. Every non-Muslim has the right to use it or say it. I’m sure, though, that those who reason, away from emotions, won’t see it appropriate to show solidarity and support to it.
As for Muslims, one should be mindful of getting dragged by the fuel, which the media continues to pour in this whole thing. The media didn’t tell us how many people were bombed in Yemen on the day of Paris’ attacks. The media isn’t aware that Muslims have been killed in the Central African Republic. The media has forgotten that the children of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Kashmir, Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya and elsewhere are also human beings who deserve sympathy and solidarity. But it has successfully got you to believe that the European blood or the non-Muslim’s blood is superior to yours.
Being a journalist is possibly one of the noble professions one can pursue, provided it’s used to save humanity, and not to dehumanize humanity. A Muslim should enjoin others to virtues and righteousness and prevent them from immorality. If a (Muslim) journalist couldn’t use his journalism to counter the extremism of Charlie Hebdo, then he should cry for its tragedy.
This article is based on the narration of the French authorities of what has happened to the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine. The story of the gunmen will never be told, as are already killed. Thus. Only God knows who they were, what motivated them, who financed and supported their actions.
This is why I seek refuge to be Charlie Hebdo. Are you Charlie? If you are, why are you? If you aren’t, why are you not? I would like to hear from you.
Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂