West and its allies call mocking of black people as racism; perception of unkindness towards Jewish as anti-Semitism but defend mocking of Muslims with bluffs of free speech
The embroilment of civilizations between the France and Muslim world is going from bad to worse after display and defense of blasphemous cartoons. This all evoked when a Chechen agitated imprudent teenager beheaded Samuel Patry, a school teacher. This murder transpired post brandishing of caricatures of holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ by Patry to his students. In view of viable anger in France against the Muslims, French president dropped another bombshell in the aegis of blasphemy. Macron delivered a fanatical trench of free speech besides vowing to fight the “Islamist separatism”. The furious Macron pledged to uphold the French secular values by saying, “We won’t renounce the caricatures” and “Islam is in crisis all over the world.” The apprehensions of the Macron didn’t die down with these open abjurations as they look to introduce a new bill aimed to encounter the growing “Islamic radicalization”. The tug of war further ushered with the open exhibition of blasphemous caricatures on the popular billboards and government buildings.
As world stands divided over the motif of ‘Freedom of Speech’, the bulk of the support to the French government has come from the European countries. The European allies have acted as a substratum in the lining of upholding secular values with fulcrum of the support revolving around growing attacks on Macron. Steffen Seibert, a German official, said, “The comments of Erdogan and its allies are derogatory and distasteful against the backdrop of Samuel Patry’s killing.” India, which has been at the centre stage of controversies with regarding to the handling of minorities in general and Muslims in particular, has blatantly extended its support to the French government. Many of the political stalwarts see it as a tactical and well calculated extension of friendship while many find it difficult to swallow as it may backfire in coming years looking into the involvement of Arab world.
Erdogan led Turkey has led the charge of denouncing Macron’s offensive and repulsive statements by advising French counterpart an early mental health check-up. Erdogan blow a whistle of boycotting French goods and it got acknowledgement from Muslim world. Saudi Arab, UAE, Iraq, Syria, Libya came down heavily on Macron and French government saying these are ill campaigns that are being followed in Europe to gain upper hand in the political spectrums of this region.
Macron’s pathetic defense of the insults caused to the sacred symbols of Islam has been talk of the town since his first day in the office in 2017. It is perplexing to witness such an intrusive and assailing response when insults are hurled against him and his leadership. Muslims believe and I concur that our response comes under the same emblem of the freedom of speech under which we are made the scapegoats. This selective hypocrisy of Macron and his supporters gives Muslim world a chance to make the Islamophobic ideology die once for all. This long inflated tool is every now and then used as an easy go mechanism to denigrate Muslim minorities to withhold the secular authority. The penetrance of freedom of speech stands naked for which France can bluster. The examples of dual nature of the West and its allies stand testimony to this fact. They call mocking of black people as racism, perception of unkindness towards Jewish as anti-Semitism while defending mocking of Muslims with bluffs of free speech. The scrub of right to ridicule and humiliate minorities will not safeguard society nor will it upgrade the same. Rather, it will only accelerate society’s degradation and deprivation.
One of the erroneous beliefs that is deliberately associated with Islam is imposing castigation for those who commit blasphemy. Allah in the holy Quran instructs Prophet Mohammad ﷺ “So, [O Prophet] remind them: your task is only to remind them, you are not over them a warden,” (88:21-22). So, Islamic mode is to harbour peace and tranquility in the empyrean of life and associated entities rather than going with the wind of violence.
Today, Islamic teachings are wilfully misquoted and mangled either to discredit Islam or to stigmatize Muslims. Muslim leaders along with Islamic intellectuals need to wake up from the slumber and frenzy self-made ideology and embrace the doctrines of humanity. We Muslims as a part of neoteric set up must learn the fundamentals of religious tolerance in the ambience of true teachings of Islam. The stage is set to cede every form of enrage and prove our worth as the followers of Prophet Mohammad ﷺ. This shall not be an enforced or cracked down transformation but it must be a self-directive awareness in the light of Islam. It doesn’t require a constrained sacrifice nor does it require to bow down, it merely would be the cognizance of religious tolerance and extension of patience. This reverence and patience would strongly advocate our case in the world and on the day of judgement.
Today when world is concealed by the creepy virus, there is hardly any space for radicalisation. Non-Muslims should shun the instinctive behavior of hatred towards Muslims and put a trap on the violent apathy while Muslims must comply with the teachings of holy Prophet Mohammad ﷺ so that peace is preserved and prolonged.
Allah says in Quran: “Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His messenger-Allah has cursed them in this world and hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment,” (Al-Ahzab, Verse 57).
Author is a Research Scholar, Lovely Professional University