Crossing the line with freedom of speech

The news has been constantly talking about the recent attacks in Paris. Yes, the tragedies that happened in France are in no doubt a great devastation. But the news fails to highlight other important events too.

The actions of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists were extremely inhumane. Their intention was to “avenge the prophet,” but they did the total opposite. Their actions were not justified in Islamic teachings and violate basic human rights. It caused the Muslim community to be looked down upon and the rate of hate crimes towards Muslims to spike up. Because of what the attackers did, there are more copies of the controversial cartoon than ever before. So clearly, when trying to resolve issues, bloodshed is not the way to go.

What the Charlie Hebdo magazine did was extremely inappropriate. France should not have been OK with publishing the images. Muslims see the prophet as a living example of how they should live. Frankly, even drawing the prophet isn’t OK. By portraying him in a negative way people could get a different image of who the prophet is,  and be even more confused on what the religion contains, Islamophobia is prevalent in the modern day world. When the cartoon was published, Charlie Hebdo encouraged ignorance and bigotry towards Islam. Shooting people is completely wrong and the shooters should be apprehended, but we must fix the causes and address the motives of these criminals.  We should learn from tragedies like this.

It’s not a surprise that the cartoon was published in France. France has been popular in the media for their secular campaigns such as trying to ban women from wearing the veil. This totally violates the right to practice whatever beliefs they hold. Lately, people have been using this tragedy to justify this propagandic “freedom of speech.” This is the same propaganda the Nazis used during World War II to make the citizens believe they were doing right. Freedom of speech and hate are two different topics; mixing the two together creates tension. The gray area in between is where people start to argue. To me, this sounds more like “freedom to hate”  or “freedom to be prejudiced” which sounds like a trigger to more violence, hate crimes and conflict. If France doesn’t acknowledge the “right to practice your religion,” then how can they be responsible to determine “freedom of speech” versus hate.

Another misunderstanding is that just because a certain religion, race,  or gender. does something bad, it doesn’t mean that the rest of that specific religion, race or gender has to apologize for it.

Because of the news biases towards certain races, cultures, religions, or genders, there wasn’t any major talk on the news about the #WhoIsMuhammad or #IamAhmad hashtag trend on Twitter. The #WhoIsMuhammad trend on Twitter and other social media outlets was basically trying to fight common misconceptions about the prophet through sharing facts about the prophet and his teachings. #IamAhmed relates to the shootings in Paris. One of the cops (Ahmed) who was killed just so happened to also be Muslim. People don’t tend to see these facts.

On Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook people quote “I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie disrespected me and ridiculed my faith and I died defending his right to do so.” This shows that not everyone of a certain faith is a certain way.

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