We have grown extremely intolerant as a society.
The recent Charlie Hebdo incident triggered a lot of conversations around the world and it got me thinking. Let’s keep the violence and killing aside for a moment, I can’t (hopefully nobody can) justify and/or support that.
But Islam prohibits anyone to draw any image and call it Prophet. There is no ambiguity, it is plain and simple prohibited. And it forms a very important tenet of Islam. Having said this, does a devout Muslim have a reason to be upset over violation of what they regard as their belief system and/or their religious rights?
To answer this, I shall quote Pope Francis who in a recent interview said, “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Some of you might argue saying that if you don’t like images of Prophet Muhammad, don’t draw them but don’t tell me that I can’t draw them. But the point that all of us miss here is that freedom of expression has its limits, especially if it involves insulting or ridiculing someone else’s faith.
So, the question is not about us having untrammelled freedom of speech but us actually evolving as a more secular society where we respect each other’s beliefs and where we don’t use humour as a tool to ridicule those beliefs.
The ire stems from the disregard of this basic right. Again, not with standing the violence, I do sincerely believe that freedom of expression and speech means your ability to voice out your perspective but it certainly doesn’t give you the right to downplay someone else’s basic beliefs.
Society is built on acceptance. Isn’t that what forms the very foundation of freedom of expression and freedom of speech?
I, for one, will side with Muslims on being upset over the cartoons, but will certainly not support the violence.
Hoping this incident will make us all more responsible for what we do and more accepting of each other’s rights.