What is there to say? Two or three violent young males shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) murder twelve people in Paris simply because some of the twelve produced a few fairly predictable cartoons about a religion and some of its well-known religious figures, past and present. The cartoonists worked for “Charlie Hebdo”, a magazine just a notch or two more “daring” than the UK’s “Private Eye” (which, in common with “Charlie Hebdo”, takes the quite understandable view that those who engage in reprehensible behaviour – and who has NOT engaged in reprehensible behaviour at some point in their lives? – deserve to be mocked).
“Faith and Belief Forum” has sought twice already to confound the stereotypes about Islam being a warlike, an extremist or an intolerant religion. With timing that is nothing less than impeccable, people who reveal themselves to be Muslim act in ways that confirm the stereotypes.
Perhaps at a moment such as this, silence is the only appropriate response. There are times when one can do nothing but despair about how religion generates problems the contemporary world can do without. If you have a faith of your own, please subject that faith to scrutiny to ensure it does not possess within it the potential that might lead to similar crimes against humanity.
The candles and the arti lamps have been blown out. The scriptures have been wrapped in their protective covers and hidden from view. The pious rhetoric of the devout has been drowned out by the last screams of those who have so needlessly died from their gunshot wounds. Yes: Je suis Charlie, nous sommes Charlie. In a world in which it seems the only certainty is death itself, we must defy those who believe they possess the truth (poor, misguided, tyrannical, ill-informed and life-fearing fools), because those who believe they possess the truth do nothing but burn, burn rather than build, build. Protect us from the bigots (of all religions and beliefs) who would kill us for nothing more than their contemptible “truths”.
Are any of the bigots’ “truths” worth a human life? Of course not. Get real.