Press Release: Charlie Hebdo: The Deceptions of Free Speech
Charlie Hebdo: The Deceptions of Free Speech
On Wednesday afternoon, we were catapulted to the year 2011, when the media coverage in Norway, right after the terror attack in Utøya pointed their fingers at the Muslims without any substantial evidence, as became apparent later. This time it was the attack on the office of the French satire weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo which resulted in twelve people dead.
Not much has been changed since then with regards to the media coverage because this time again without any evidence and decent investigation whatsoever, the suggestion was presented that Muslims are behind the attack in Paris. This occurred before the videotapes were publicized showing the perpetrators shouting Arabic phrases. As a result, this incident was directly branded ‘Islamic’ and came for some as a blessing and a confirmation of that which they deeply harbor in their chests. In order to use these kinds of attacks as firewood to fuel the continuously burning anti-Islam rhetoric even further.
It was not long before the authorities had three names and pictures of the suspects because one of the perpetrators oddly enough forgot his ID in the escape car. Furthermore, they managed to uncover the identities of the three suspects with just one ID. Afterwards this impossibility became apparent when one of the suspects was an 18-year-old man who was still at school during the incident. Convincing or not, Islamically motivated or not, we will never find out because the suspects were all shot dead by the French anti-terrorism unit.
A violent act has taken place with all its accompanying negative consequences for non-Muslims and the Muslim community in Europe. This is the reality which we have to deal with. The question rather, is not if the perpetrators were Muslim or not and if their motives were Islamic, but why is it important that the perpetrators are Muslim or non-Muslim?
Without trivializing the attack on Charlie Hebdo, let’s consider the attack in Norway and the reaction of the media, politicians and the subsequent measures that were taken to prevent and combat it. The attack on a government building in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik took eight lives. Then there were 69 innocent teenagers brutally shoot dead in a summer camp.
Any rational human being can’t help but admit that this is far worse and drastic. This is due to several reasons; firstly the death toll is almost seven times higher than that of the attack in Paris and most of the victims were innocent teenagers whilst Charlie Hebdo was known for its provocation and intentional seeking confrontations. And more importantly, the West knows the consequence of right-wing nationalism and discrimination of ideological or religious opposition all too well. And the West knows what it is capable of, giving its violent history.
Why is an attack on innocent children by one person who believes in an ideology of hate and discrimination who forms a dangerous threat for Europe not a real threat to society and aren’t there any extra measures being taken? But instead they cause so much uproar if the perpetrators are Muslim? Do they think that the ideology that is carried by a minority poses a bigger threat to society than the potential monster of WW II?
Or is it perhaps not the minority of Muslims in France that makes people so anxious, but rather the overwhelming majority in the Muslim countries who have been colonized for decades and still to this day are colonized? Or perhaps they are scared because they helped the tyrants and dictators to power to literally suppress the Muslims in Algeria, Libya and other countries? Or maybe they are scared because they have plundered their wealth for many years in for instance Mali and Central-Africa? Or is it because of their military contribution to other Western coalitions in the Muslim countries that they are scared? Is France afraid of the crimes that it has committed which it knows will one day come back to it like a boomerang?
I think that the true reasons have to be looked for in this direction. Because the empty war rhetoric of politicians, commentators and the media of the attack describing it as not an attack on cartoonists but an attack on all important values which the West and its citizens stand for, namely freedom of speech has no considerable meaning because of three reasons:
• The supporters of freedom of speech consider this a right to resist against the injustices and crimes that takes place in society and politics. And to criticize with the aim that through discussion a better understanding and relations can be created to improve the society. However in the case of the insulting cartoons, there are no arguments presented nor does it contribute to coexistence. It only creates animosity and hate between different segments in society. As a result it does not accomplish any intended purposes of free speech.
• Freedom of speech and expression is used selectively. The Muslim women cannot dress in their own Islamic clothing in public, their right to enjoy an education is violated and their right to fulfill public services are denied. Wearing a face-veil in public is legally prohibited and punishable by a fine. Even when almost the whole Islamic world was protesting and demanded that Charlie Hebdo should remove the insulting cartoons, they did not even give an inch. However when one of their own cartoonists Maurice Sinet publicized something about the Jewish daughter-in-law of President Nicolas Sarkozy, he was fired because he refused to offer his apologies.
• As paradoxical as it may sound, freedom of speech which is considered a constitutional right, is even imposed against critical oppositions (who think outside the norms of liberal democracy) to silence them through preventive and repressive policies. And if necessary they are silenced with brute force and if need be, like the wording of the Mayor of Rotterdam they have to “buzz off”.
This shows that even the supporters of freedom of speech are not convinced of this idea and it is only used to serve its own agenda to silence the Muslims.
Finally, We the Muslims are the ‘Nation of Muhammad (saw)’. We believe in him, we love him, we follow him and we will always stand up to defend his honor. The so-called freedom of speech or whatever else cannot convince us otherwise, not even for a second.
Media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir
in The Netherlands