Opinion

Beyond the Paris terror attack

In the name of Allah, most beneficent, most merciful.
The devastating and tense outcome of the above incident which occurred on January 7, has the tendency to deepen the differences between various religious groups in a multicultural society and thus has left most peace loving people contemplating on the right course to attaining sustainable peace and harmony between adherents of the world’s religions and even atheists.Indeed, the reputable media outlet Sky News conducted an online poll as to whether satirical publications about religion should continue.
Even though the exact motive of the above cowardly and evil act is yet to be established, the unanimous voice of condemnation spoken by Muslims and their leaders about this wicked and heinous act of terror is enough reason to distance it from being Islamic.
Muslims have refuted the act in series of statements and releases explaining and detailing how Islam preaches against such acts of violence and the proper methodology to be adopted when issues of ridicule or abuse against the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) and Islam comes up and have cited as an example the way the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) reacted when he was attacked by the Pagans of Mecca whilst he was praying.He remained calm and advised his blessed companions against revenge.
On the other hand, the leaders of the ‘civilized ‘ world in their condemnation of the act of terror also expressed support for Charlie Hebdo’s publication referring to it as an expression of free speech. Some media outlets, in their apparent show of solidarity to the magazine re-published those same satirical comments that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) though reputable outlets such as CNN refrained from this act.
This trend is very disturbing and in my humble view does not offer any solutions for trust and a peaceful coexistence.
I beg to ask was it not free speech:
1. When in July 2008, Maurice Sinet, a journalist with the same Charlie Hebdo was dismissed for a column he wrote about Sarkozy’s son’s engagement to a Jew? Instead, they referred to it as ‘inciting racial hatred’.
2. When in January 2014 France’s highest administrative court banned a show by the comic Diedonnes Mbala Mbala? Instead it was referred to as ‘anti Semitic’.
3. When in February 2013, Whatcott in Canada was banned from distributing flyers against gays and lesbians? Instead it was seen as ‘hate speech’ and not free speech.
4. When in our own beloved Ghana people were dragged to the Supreme Court for making satirical description of a Judge as resembling a ‘voodoo king’.? Instead, it was seen as disrespect to the Judiciary.
I ask again:
Which civilized world sees the ridicule of the Prophet of the fastest growing religion of the world with over a billion adherents, a majority of whom are against violence, as an expression of free speech?
In moving forward, and in our search for a peaceful coexistence between different religions, we should shun and avoid such provocative publications. Publishers can critique aspects of religion that they seem not to understand and provide columns for rejoinders and this will create a platform for healthy debates.
We should be unanimous in our condemnation of hate speech irrespective of who it is directed.
This creates trust and a fertile ground for a peaceful coexistence.
In conclusion, it is my prayer that the criminals be apprehended to answer for their crimes. I also hope and pray those affected with habit of ridiculing religious figures shun this habit and critique with evidence. That is the way accepted by sound logic. 

WE SAY NO TO ALL FORMS OF INJUSTICE!

Source: Dr. Issah Imoro | issahwuni@gmail.com

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