I wonder how many professing Christians have jumped onto the “Je Suis Charlie” bandwagon – moved by emotion instead of discernment.
While we can all abhor what happened to the cartoonists and journalists from the Charlie Hebdo paper, being shocked that such a thing could happen, and while we can sympathise with the families of the victims; surely identifying ourselves with a paper that has mocked Christianity and not only Islam can’t be the right way to go.
Maybe one of the publications main achievements was to be equally insulting to all religions and in being so, in a roundabout and unfortunate way, have shown up the thing that sets Islam apart. Followers of THAT religion were the ones to be moved to extreme and deadly violence against the publication to avenge their ‘prophet” in the name of their god.
Why would anyone be surprised by this? Have they forgotten about the death sentence placed on Salman Rushdie in 1989 (a sentence that remains, with an increased reward offered to the one who carries it out)? Have they forgotten the many who were murdered for their association with Rushdie and his book The Satanic Verses?
Have they forgotten those murdered during other protests about movies and previous cartoons that have depicted Mohammed in a less than flattering light?
These threats and actions may have been endorsed by a minority of Moslems in the west, but they have been a sizable and vocal minority not afraid of making their extreme views clear. In Australia protestors openly carried placards calling for the beheading of those who insult “the prophet”. In Britain those who “mock Islam” were to be butchered. And while the sentence against Rushdie was issued from Iran, it was done so at the instigation of Moslems in Britain.
The Charlie Hebdo murders were nothing new and I think it would be naive to think they will be the last. It doesn’t matter how many millions march in peaceful protest through city streets, no matter how many clever cartoons are drawn in response (and some HAVE been very good) those consumed by the Islamist ideology of ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haram and countless other similar groups won’t be moved at all and will continue with their evil acts.
While we are assured those actions are not sanctioned by the broader Moslem communities in the west, there is a large enough number of professing Moslems around the world (including an active minority the west) who do sanction such actions. That is something that few seem willing to admit, being afraid of “alienating” the moderate Moslems and potentially pushing THEM towards extremism.
To me that attitude could seem patronising, but strangely, despite the fact that Moslems in Iraq and Syria are the main victims of Islamist extremists like ISIS, Moslems in the west also make the same kind of claims – that victimisation of Moslems by non-Moslems causes the embracing of extremism.
On the same day as the Charlie Hebdo murders, it was reported that a Saudi Arabian court sentenced a blogger to 10 years jail and 1000 lashes because of things he wrote on his blog. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/11/flogging-global-outrage-saudi-arabia-silent ). [remember, Saudi Arabia: the home of Islam and its “holiest” sites. ]
Also, Christian ministry Open Doors reports Islamic extremism is the main source of persecution of Christians in 40 of the 50 countries.
Consider the contrast:
How do the above examples compare to the treatment of Moslems in the west?
Are Moslems prevented by law from peacefully practising their religion?
Would Moslems face execution for blasphemy should they speak out against the west’s religion of secularism? (Or Christianity or Buddhism or any other religion practised in the west)?
Consider the contrast:
The Paris gunmen:
“we have avenged the prophet”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5)
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Cor 6)
…remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions (Jude)