Charlie Hebdo and Blasphemy: Pick Up Your Pen, Not Your Sword
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, January 7, 2015 in Paris, many opinions abound, and it becomes difficult to offer any unique insight of one’s own without being drowned out, or indeed, wondering if you should offer anything at all.
Opinions range from outright disgust and condemnation to stating that the cartoonists deserved it. But there also exists a slightly more insidious view: that of condemning the killers and also condemning the cartoons. I have no doubt that people who say something along the lines of “While I condemn the killing, nobody should insult the Prophet” think they’re protecting all Muslims and their sensibilities. They’re also justifiably protecting themselves from reprisals. But perhaps this view deserves scrutiny in itself, and Tehmina Kazi does an excellent job of simply explaining some of the misconceptions that create such a position.
I would urge us, if we haven’t already, to think before acting, and to consider whether protecting rotten behavioural yardsticks such as blasphemy, even with the best of intentions, is the right thing to do. After all, lampooning religion isn’t done to upset the religious, but to challenge bad ideas.
Continue Reading this article at Atheist Republic.
After speaking to a few people who have read my article on Charlie Hebdo and blasphemy, various points have been raised. Such points included how to deal with well meaning but ultimately counterproductive attitudes like “The killing was truly awful BUT,” or “whilst I condemn the killing, Charlie Hebdo were controversial, Islamophobic and racist so…” It seems that many people hadn’t taken the time to research the event entirely before commenting, whilst others were generally interested in learning more.
One reader thought it would be helpful to write another article going into depth on a few of the points flirted with in my article but not expanded upon at great length. To an extent I thought this would be a good idea, however with the wealth of material already out there, I feel it would be better in my own small space in the blogosphere, to elevate the French, Muslim, Ex-Muslim, Liberal Muslim, and Secular voices who are already making an impact when addressing these particular issues, rather than try to talk over them. Here are just a few of the sources that contributed to the writing of my article, and some others which I feel in some way add context to such an event.