Caught between Terror and Offensive Freedom of Expression: When Will the World Be a Safer Place?

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Hussein Hoballah, Montreal

Once again someone ill commits an ugly, condemned act of terror and Islamophobic voices are heard.
The recent crime in France must be re-examined; three points, specifically, must be focused on. The first is the decapitation of a teacher by a “Muslim” guy after the teacher had shown derogatory caricatures on Holy Messenger Mohammed to his students. The second point is 47-year-old teacher Samuel Patty’s caricature display during his civics class discussion on the freedom of expression. The third point is the reactions elicited by this crime.
What matters most to anti-Muslims is that the criminal’s name is Abdullah, that he’s of Chechen origins, and that he shouted “Allahu Akbar” while brutally beheading the teacher. That seems enough to make people have hard feelings about Islam.
But wait a minute… Do wait. Does Islam even legitimise what this criminal has done?
That is the first question that must be raised before Islam is judged for some madman’s actions. Deemed a major reference for Muslims, the venerated al-Azhar has condemned “the terrorist incident in Paris,” confirming in a statement that such atrocious, terrorist acts are refused. This is, in brief, just one of the Islamic reactions elicited after the beheading of the French teacher.
If we actually wish to talk about the ideology behind that crime, we’ll find that Muslims, above all, have been the first victims of the Takfiri ideology, which has been supported by France’s own allies, and the US’s: Saudi and Qatar…
Filmed beheadings displayed by ISIS during the Syrian war, which has been emblazed by most Western countries and their allies – the Gulf States – have sometimes been overlooked and sometimes used for Islamophobic propaganda.
It must always be remembered when US President Donald Trump, during his election campaign, accused former President Barack Obama of founding ISIS. Trump as well accused his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of partnering in founding this terror group.
Earlier, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange declared he had obtained evidence that implicated the then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with ISIS. The Political Insider mentions that Assange has reported that Clinton was not just in contact with the terrorists, but was also arming them while acting as secretary of state.
This cannot be ignored once we see the terror group’s crimes. Nor can we overlook the ground where this group moves and the timing of its crimes.
Deciding he should bring the freedom of expression to the attention of his students, the victimised French teacher chose caricatures by French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, which ridiculed the Holy Messenger, barely a week after his painful death memorial, and only a few days ahead of his blessed birth commemoration.
French media reports a number of the student’s parents had expressed anger over the teacher’s action; yet no officials bothered to do anything or hold the teacher accountable.
We have the right to ask: Can’t the freedom of expression be taught in areas that differ from sanctities? In this case, over a milliard Muslims who scantily the Messenger have been hugely provoked. Belittling sanctities must be examined before any talk on freedom is made.
I don’t know what kind of freedom of expression this world sees, and how people are expected to believe that claim when the same world seeks to ban any criticism of Israel’s crimes. Anti-Semitism definitions have been made to strangle that same freedom of expression when they are like: “Anti-Semitism might include the targeting of Israel, which is a Jewish state.”
Criticisers of Israel today fear being kicked out of their jobs, deprived of their credentials, or defamed, just like what’s happening in Canada and other countries from time to time.
There must be an end to double standards when it’s about the freedom of expression. Just anyone has the right to ridicule a person regarded sacred by over a milliard Muslims! But none at all can call Israel “a racist, for example, or compare it to the Nazis” because that offends Jews! In the meantime, we see that a lot of Jews do not consider Israel their state or representative. Only when Muslims’ Holy Messenger Mohammed is offended in French schools is it allowed!
French President Emanuel Macron has recently stated that “Islam is a religion at trouble all over the world,” provoking anger. Following the crime, he’s announced stricter plans to confront what he says is “Islamic seclusion,” adding Friday’s crime is reminiscent of “a Muslim terrorist attack” and that the victim “was killed because he taught his students about the freedom of expression.”
But Macron’s speech itself is reminiscent of election motives now that he’s lost publicity, which he wishes to regain by using the abhorrent crime to blame Islam for the radical, rightist, rival actions. Islam is a great religion that allows no crimes like the ones funded by Macron’s allies.
It is about time things were called by their names and the terrorist-ideology funders and supporters were uncovered. It is also about time those who sent terrorists to Syria and earlier to Afghanistan were revealed. “It is essential that an international declaration be made to ban offensiveness against religions and sanctities,” states al-Azhar while commenting on the abhorrent crime. It is also a must to clearly define what the freedom of expression means. Only then can we live in a more just and secure world.