some thoughts on the recent massacre of cartoonists in france

(note: the title of this article is a satire of how certain news corporations write headlines, although I totally agree with the sentiment and the tone I’ve provided in said title.)

It was strange waking up to a message about the tragedy that occurred in Paris the other morning. I had spent the previous day writing a play that revolves around censorship for my theatre company, and the night watching videos of Bill Maher and Sam Harris discuss their views on Islam and Muslims. So the day before I was exploring themes of censorship and bigotry; the next morning, I saw what happens when they collide. It’s an absolute tragedy what happened in Paris.

For those of you reading this who are not familiar with what exactly happened, a group of satire cartoonists in Paris who work for Charlie Hebdo were gunned down by a group of individuals who represented themselves as members of ‘Al-Qaeda’.

I feel like I don’t need to outline how disgusting and barbic this act was, nor do I ever feel something like this should become a norm (which for certain countries, it has). Let me be clear, this act was ruthless and barbaric. I hope that the people who are responsible are apprehended immediately. I do not however think that this action is in any way a representation of Islam.

This brings me to my next point; for the clarity of this article, I feel the need to highlight that I am a Muslim. As a Muslim, I condemn this act. As a human being (or rather, as a sane human being) I condemn this act. As any form of myself, I condemn this act. However, much of the blame is being thrown on the Muslim community (as it is in almost any and every single violent attack from someone who decides that they are Muslim). The trouble of this is that it goes against almost every (and I’ll get back to why I say almost every) Muslim ideology to kill innocent people. Considering what we’ve seen in Paris, Peshawar, Sydney, America, Canada, and really any state that has ever been attacked by a fundamentalist, any religion would condemn the actions that were done, and various Muslims and Islamic groups have stepped up and publicly condemned these actions. However, the blame still gets shifted onto the religion rather than the person. Not only that, it gets applied by certain individuals on everyone in that entire race.

This leads us to what happened after; a Mosque in Paris was attacked. This shouldn’t be accepted either. Throwing the blame onto a religion rather than the individuals (who continuously pervert the religion in order to support their agenda) is completely unfair. As I said before, almost every Muslim ideology automatically condemn murdering innocent people. Unfortunately we have seen a cancer grow inside the religion of Islam that is built on extremism, and even though it is a very small minority of people who follow this (very small minority, I might add), there is still a negative, counter-Islamic ideology that is growing. I feel that this video featuring Reza Aslan and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will give you an insight on what I am talking about.

It’s tough to see my religion (or any religion, really) get destroyed by the action of a few individuals. It’s even worse to see people like Bill Maher (whom I actually think is an amazing comic and has some great insight on political and social issues) and Sam Harris completely generalize a religion with completely diverse people. I mean just because you follow a religion doesn’t mean that everyone in that religion are the product of a cookie-cutter ideology; we all have our own brains and our own viewpoints. I didn’t enjoy the cartoons from Charlie Hebdo at all, and maybe there are many Muslims who do, but I would never ever wish any kind of harm on them for those cartoons. Also, even though I didn’t like the cartoon, that doesn’t give me any right (as a Muslim and as a Canadian) to harm another person. Free speech is the reason why we have such an educated and prosperous society.

I would like to conclude by saying that my thoughts and prayers are with the people who lost their lives, including the police officers who have been attacked by these mad-men during this time, as well as their families and friends.

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