Why denouncing the 'Charlie Hebdo' attack is not enough
The Jakarta Post
First of all, we offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded who were targeted in the Paris magazine and kosher market attacks.
We pray that such atrocities are never repeated and that the world finally sees the days of love and harmonious coexistence that it has been longing for.
Slaughtering defenseless people simply because they hold differing ideas or because they used offensive remarks is nothing short of sheer barbarism. It is another cruelty to target a kosher market and kill unarmed, innocent Jews simply for being Jews.
Those who perpetrate their outrageous massacres using the name of 'Islam' and calling it 'jihad' are, in fact, murderers according to the Koran. The Koran states that killing defenseless, innocent people is outright tyranny.
God bans terrorism and all similar acts of violence and condemns those who are engaged in such acts, yet the most violent and horrible face of radicalism acts in the name of Islam.
Needless to say, the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims are peaceful and denounce these horrible acts of terrorism. Yet this doesn't change the fact that radicalism is spreading and growing like a cancer in the Islamic world.
For this reason, if peaceful Muslims merely settle with condemning such acts and then retreat into the background without trying to understand the reasons for it, or working to cure the illness, the onset of more disasters will be inevitable.
Furthermore, many Muslims who consider themselves peaceful believe in the very same superstitions that feed the ideology of the radicals. If a Muslim doesn't resort to violence, but still harbors a blind enmity toward the Jews and non-believers, refers to non-Koranic sources as justification for his bigoted mindset, he is but another prisoner of the same false ideology.
Campaign is urgently needed to purge the Islamic world from the superstitions.
Thus the first step should involve understanding the nature and causes of radicalism and finding ways to solve it within Islam.
Terrorism will not be ended by rallies, or condemnation by world leaders, or simply by saying 'Islam is a religion of peace.'
The Islam of the Koran ' freed from the fabricated hadiths and traditional interpretation of the bigots ' is a religion of peace and once can find calls for coexistence and freedom of thought and expression in the Koran.
However, the Islam of radicals and bigots is far beyond this, and to solve this problem, it is imperative that the Islamic world be shown these facts persistently, with evidence from the Koran, with sufficient explanations and through educational campaigns.
Indeed, a wide-ranging campaign is urgently needed to purge the Islamic world from the superstitions afflicting it. The support of the Western world is surely important, but the real duty in this undertaking lies upon Muslims.
Another important aspect that the Charlie Hebdo attack brought to attention is this: In assessing the incident in a television address, French President Francois Hollande said it was an attack upon freedom of speech and democracy.
Indeed, freedom of expression is fundamental to democracy, a notion that is primarily and strongly advocated by Islam. It is definitely unlawful to coerce people or silence them to make them buy into particular views or lifestyles in Islam. It is also obvious that coercion paralyzes the soul, ruins the power of the arts, the power of writing and creativity and ultimately causes harm to society as a whole.
Errors in ideas can be expressed in various ways, but nobody is killed or persecuted because one dissents. Even if a person abuses the concept of freedom of speech and defames the sacred values of others, again that should be solved in a civilized manner but violence, the use of brute force or bullying is never acceptable.
It is a universally acknowledged fact that freedom of expression must be maintained, but love and respect are also vital. The morals of Islam entitle every individual to freedoms, as stated in a verse: 'You have your religion and I have my religion' (109:6). That is another reason why curbing freedom of expression is incompatible with Islam ' as explained in the Koran.
The primary tenet of the relationships and dialogue between people with dissenting views must always be love.
Freedom of expression is surely inviolable but we must bear in mind that love and respect are also equally inviolable and are perhaps the most essential need of the human soul.
That is why it is important that President Hollande differentiated fanaticism from true Islamic morality, and emphasized, 'Those fanatics have nothing in common with the rest of the Muslim faith.'
Muslims who follow the true path as stated in the Koran settle matters with gracious talk so as to clarify any objectionable elements in the other's attitude. In that sense, there is no need to say that any form of violence is in no way acceptable or lawful while handling dissent; that should be clearly understood by all.
And ultimately, the Koran reveals the value Islam attaches to human life and the outrageous nature of taking life in one verse:
'[...] If someone kills another person, it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind [...]' (Koran 5:32).
The writer has authored books on politics, religion and science.
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