Yesterday, two (presumably) fanatical islamists, armed with heavy automatic weapons, attacked the french satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. They murdered 12 unarmed artists, and injured many more. If witness reports are correct, the two gunmen yelled, among other things, that they were ‘avenging Mohammed’.
Here’s what I think.
- I’m deeply saddened and shocked by this senseless, brutal, indefensible and cowardly massacre. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims.
- I wish I could also say that I’m surprised – unfortunately, and everyone agrees on this, it was only a matter of when, not if, religious nuts would bring death to another European capital.
- It seems that the murderers think that they have the right to kill a couple of humorists for what they (the murderers) interpret as an insult to their religious idol, Mohammed. In other words: these people believe that brutal violence with assault weapons is the correct response to artistic expression with pen and paper. It should be obvious to anyone that these people, and anyone who agrees with that kind of sentiment, must be locked up.
- If you think Mohammed, a successful war lord in his own time, needs you to avenge him, you seriously overestimate your importance and underestimate his accomplishments.
- This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. It would behoove the Muslim community to finally rally more than token indignation over this cowardly, barbarous act. After all, Muslims are known to mobilize en masse when someone so much as mishandles a book. Show that you have your priorities straight and agree that people are more important than any book ever written.
- After such an outpouring of support for the victims of fanatical, intolerant Islamists, the moderate Muslims can then rightfully worry about repercussions. Perhaps, at the same time, abstain from using the word ‘Islamophobia’. At all.
- We (the west) must finally talk about this blatantly obvious issue. We should no longer ignore the fact that an inordinate, disproportionate share of religiously motivated violence is attributed to Islam – no other religion in the world racks up more victims (be they dead, injured or repressed), most of them Muslims, than Islam. Yet, Islam is not the world’s largest religion. This fact has not escaped the rest of the world, and even though many try to hide how they feel about it, it is creating unease.
- One of the reasons we don’t talk about the disproportionate amount of violence in the name of Islam is that anyone who voices such sentiments runs the risk of quickly being branded a ‘racist’ or ‘islamophobe’.
- As a result, only the kind of people that embrace racism and xenophobia openly talk about the obvious problem Islam has with violence: Nazis. French ‘Front National’ exponent le Pen already exploits the murderous attacks, and the impact they have on the French people – to further their own fascist agenda. Do we really need the dimwitted right to fight the religiously fanatic? We should not leave this important discussion only to intolerant irrationals, political arsonists and unethical pompous asses.
If we act now, we can ensure that the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre did not suffer and die in vain. We can make their injuries and deaths count. However, if we don’t act and revert to tip-toeing around the white elephant in the room that is Islam’s problem with religiously motivated violence, we may have missed an opportunity to turn tragedy into something meaningful.
Because these acts of barbarism will happen again and again until we do.