Unlike most in my circle of family and friends, I happen to know Muslims on a personal level. They are a lovely South African couple of Indian descent, Mohammed and Adila. They are actually more liberal than I am politically. They are intelligent, kind people who love their family, their two small children, and whom I have an open invitation to see them should I go to South Africa.
They are also strong Muslims who found the images of the Prophet Mohammed to be insulting if not blasphemous. Islam forbids the depiction of Mohammed, and I believe the depiction of any living things under the thought that only God can create a living thing. This is why Islamic art tends towards the abstract and to calligraphy rather than the humanistic representations of Western and Asian art.
As such, with them in mind, I will not post the offending cartoons. Instead, I will post the pictures of some of those murdered because of them.
The ten people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office, and the two officers outside, had families and friends and were not a threat to others. They were offensive, even foolish, and a quick glimpse of just the covers shows that I wouldn't have been a fan of the magazine. However, the freedom to speak one's mind, to be offensive, is one that we all must fight to preserve.
We've already seen this with The Interview, where a noxious regime went into overdrive to suppress a satirical film merely for mocking Kim Jong-Un. Now, we have another assault on intellectual freedom, one that involved bloodshed. Islamofascism, the toxic mixing of Islam with totalitarianism, has as one of its core principles the concept that a small select group can and should and must decide what all others may think, may feel, may believe. Whether it is from the Far East, the Middle East, or anywhere, we as humans must not be cowered into submission.
Those who kill in the name of God are the true blasphemers. God does not require human sacrifices to please Him.
We cannot ever surrender intellectually to those who have decided to decide for us what we can and cannot read, can and cannot write, can or cannot think. Those who find particular writings, drawings, or thoughts offensive should speak out, but speak out through peaceful means, to attempt to explain why something is wrong. The writers, for their part, should be free to create and to cause offense.
Again and again people appear to refuse to acknowledge that Islamofascism is dangerous. We've had another example of this, one that again has cost people their lives.
I have the right, given to me by God (however you perceive Him to be) to be critical of anything or anyone, so long as I do not call for violence against anyone or anything. There are those, however, who believe they have a God-given duty to silence me.
I believe it was Voltaire, the French author and atheist, who said, "I do not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it." I am not an atheist, but just as I would not silence Richard Dawkins and he would not silence me, we all must continue to fight to speak freely, to write freely, to think freely. Otherwise, we will enter into a true Dark Age.
It breaks my heart that people have been killed over cartoons. The Charlie Hebdo staff and the two officers did just that: they defended to the death someone's right to say something others disagreed with.
There is no justification, in Heaven or Earth, for murder.
Let us all protest a real case of "Hands Up, Don't Shoot".