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Respect Muslims' feelings.


Muslims of all hues unequivocally condemned the murder last week of the staff members of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. And rightly so. However, many of us Muslims are now overcome by a sense of betrayal. We mourn your dead, we condemn the so-called "Muslims" who carried out the assault, we stood in solidarity with you and all we get in return is another blasphemous cover page. The publication couldn't even care as much to respect the faith of Ahmed Merabat, the 40-year-old Muslim police officer, who was shot dead by the attackers. The cover of Charlie Hebdo's latest edition published on Wednesday contains blasphemous sketches. The magazine is printing three million copies, compared with its usual 60,000. Let's stop bluffing ourselves. Charlie Hebdo doesn't stand for the right to freedom of speech. If anything, it stands for the right to offend. It is also a symbol of double standard because it is the same magazine that sacked French cartoonist Maurice Sinet in 2008 for making an allegedly anti-Semitic remark. Let's also not forget this 'free' country has a problem with a Muslim woman's freedom to wear Hijab. Charlie Hebdo has a history of publishing provocative anti-Islam cartoons. In 2012, the paper provoked controversy by publishing blasphemous caricatures - the type of goading content that has drawn the ire of Muslims because the depiction of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is highly sacrilegious. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday said the country is at war with terrorism, and not "against Islam and Muslims." We get that Mr. Prime Minister, but it seems Charlie Hebdo is not interested in peaceful coexistence between the Muslims and the others. The new cartoons are provocative and hurt the sentiments of around 1.5 billion Muslims. If the pen is mightier than the sword, surely the wounds it inflicts are also deeper. We as Muslims take our religion and our Prophet (pbuh) seriously. The depiction of the Prophet (pbuh) is sacrilegious and despite that most of the 1.5 billion Muslims across the world will stay calm and avoid any extreme reactions because that is what our religion teaches us, there are always cowardly terrorists who exploit such a situation for their vested interest and link it with Islam. Do us a favor, Charlie Hebdo. We are tired of taking the blame for the acts of a few. Your satire is not even funny. It doesn't stand for anything even close to courage. It does make a statement though - not a statement about free speech. But a statement about hate speech. Avoid playing with the sentiments of the majority of Muslims who love peace and who abhor terrorism. Well, what can we say, like one French left-wing newspaper editor said of the new cover page, it's 'very Charlie'! And no one is laughing.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jan 16, 2015
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