Charlie is one of thousand victims who lost their lives by the hands of those who don’t understand the notion of difference, freedom of expression and accepting others. Before the terrorist assassination attack, I never heard about Charlie. But when the news took over the internet, I was lost between those who defend him and those who think he deserves it. I got lost between the two. I reviewed some of his works and to be honest, I was extremely offended, as I follow the religion of Islam. And because I follow Islam and I know quite a lot about this great religion, I was way more offended by the fact that these terrorists killed him by the name of Islam, the religion of peace and tolerance.
The first word of Qur’an God sent to our Prophet Muhammad was “Read”, an emphasis on the importance of education, knowledge and understanding. The first word wasn’t pray or fast, it was read. The religion of Islam acknowledged the differences between people and that we are not all the same, and if God wanted to create us all Muslims he would, but he created us different for a reason, which is clear in the Qur’an in Al-Hujjurat verse 49:13 “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you people and tribes that you may know one another.” God said that he created us different to know each other, accept each other not to judge or try to prove each other wrong. Islam put the bases for inter-cultural communication and encouraged people to go around the world and see different lifestyles and traditions which will make us more tolerant and open-minded. These Muslim terrorists – and I am sorry to call them Muslims because they are not even slightly connected to Islam- if they opened the Qur’an, they would have found hundreds of versus about peace, tolerance and accepting opposing views. They would have found that if they are against Charlie, they should respond by showing him tolerance, acceptance and hard work in a civilized way.
Charlie was absolutely free to express his opinion and also those who are against him are free to express their opinions, whether you see him as a hero or not, this falls under your right of freedom of expression. Yes words can be hurtful sometimes but people need to understand that you are free to say what you believe in as long as it is not accompanied by violence or harm. Charlie expressed his opinion through a paper and a pen, and if you want to respond, respond by a paper and a pen, and be fair! Killing is never a way to face someone who has different ideas and beliefs than yours. They call themselves defenders of Islam but by this brutal act, all what they did is that at least in some people’s minds, they proved Charlie right.. Unfortunately!!
I am not Charlie because I am not as free as he was, France is a country that guarantees absolute free speech, and coming from an Arab country doesn’t guarantee the same. I am not Charlie, because if I oppose any idea or belief, I would never ridicule it or make fun of it. I am not Charlie because I don’t judge beliefs by the people who believe in them or follow them. I am not Charlie because I was never a victim of my opinion.
I hope that after this tragic incident, the west is more attentive to the threat of extremist terrorist organizations that the Arab world has been facing throughout the past year and that they appreciate the efforts done by some Arab countries to fight terrorism. Charlie is not dead because he is an idea, the idea of freedom of expression in the face of terrorism. There are tens and hundreds of Charlie killed every day by the brutal hands of ignorance and extremism, Charlies that we don’t know about because they are not famous and don’t come from a first world country. Our world will be as free as Charlie when these people are treated as equal. Each person killed by the hands of terrorists deserves a march and a moment of silence honoring his soul. I viewed the marches that were all over the world as not only for Charlie, but for all the innocent that lost their lives by the hands of terrorism, ignorance and double standard.