It has been 6 years since a dozen people were brutally murdered in the Charlie Hebdo offices, and little has changed.
Just a few months ago, there were more deaths due to the very same cartoons https://exmuslims.org/timeline-paris-attacks-2020/ – innocent lives taken on behalf of religious “feelings”. This time prompted by a Parisian school teacher daring to show the drawings in a lesson about secularism and freedom of speech. The teacher was beheaded, and in the events following his murder, three more people were killed in another knife attack.
Since the very advent of the faith, people have been killed for offending Islam. Even Muslims who attempt to modernize the faith have met brutal fates. For much of history, this violence was contained within the Muslim world, and its primary victims Muslims or former Muslims. In our modern, interconnected, mobile world, however, the most intolerant elements of Islam are not limited by borders, secular governments, or universal human rights.
So now, we must all meet this challenge – directly, honestly, and compassionately. We must stand for freedom – to think, to organize, to speak – while simultaneously championing the human rights of all people. This means simultaneously standing for Samual Paty and the freedom to offend, and standing for Uighur Muslims and the freedom to practice. We must stand against authoritarianism everywhere – political *and* religious.
Unfortunately, intellectuals and leaders around the world, even in the West, have abdicated their duty towards human rights and liberties. They have repeatedly minimized the appalling nature of the violence by shameless references to “tolerance” and “respect” for all faiths, debasing the principles of both in the process.
Although many have tacitly accepted this new paradigm – one in which blood is spilled due to the sensitivity of the members of one religion – we refuse. There can be no excuse. There can be no justification. The freedom to scrutinize, criticize and even ridicule dogma in all its forms is fundamental to progress everywhere. There can be no “hurt feelings” exception.
We will not censor ourselves, and we ask that others join us.
So once again, we say #JeSuisCharlie.