Taroudant- While many world leaders and influential political figures are striving to reduce the extent of tensions in the Islamic world sparked by the amateurish film “Innocence of Muslims” and the offensives caricatures in French weekly magazine "Charlie Hebdo," Zineb el Rhazoui, Franco-Moroccan and a journalist at “Charlie Hebdo,” explained "Charlie has caricatured the Pope, why not Muhammad?"
Taroudant- While many world leaders and influential political figures are striving to reduce the extent of tensions in the Islamic world sparked by the amateurish film “Innocence of Muslims” and the offensives caricatures in French weekly magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” Zineb el Rhazoui, Franco-Moroccan and a journalist at “Charlie Hebdo,” explained “Charlie has caricatured the Pope, why not Muhammad?”
In an interview to Slate afrique, the journalist, originally from Morocco, tried to explain why she is in line with publishing the caricatures mocking the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). To convince her readers, the journalist tried desperately to resort to logical reasoning. But her reasoning is a far cry from the Socratic syllogism, which runs as follow “Socrates is a man, All men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal.” Her reasoning is false since the basic premises that form her logical reasoning are not of equal value. The Pope and Mohammad, the prophet, are incomparable, simply because the former is the head of a church whereas the latter is a messenger of God.
With much respect to the pope, regardless of the high religious rank he obtains, he remains a human being elected by humans in a papal conclave to represent the Roman Catholic Church and be in charge of its religious affairs. However, Mohammad (peace be upon him) is a prophet selected by God to represent Him on earth and deliver his Divine message to the world. So it is foolish, but out of madness to even attempt to compare two persons who have quite different tasks and positions. Yet, I am not saying that it is OK to draw caricatures mocking the Pope even though Christians may believe these acts do not offend their religious values. In this regard, I want to state that we, as Muslims, believe that freedom speech stops when it encroaches on people’s religious beliefs, whether they are Christians, Jews or Muslims. We condemn all attacks on any religious symbols. We have to strive for fostering dialogue and shunning any tendency to blasphemy of any religion.
As I have already explained in my previous article, these fraudulent and extremist publications of offensive caricatures inciting hatred came to serve a selfish commercial purpose by the French weekly, ignoring that the lives of many French people living abroad may be put in danger. Sarcastically, Zineb el Rhazoui in the interview emphasized that “our duty is to work on the news, to respect journalistic ethics which are very clear: not to appeal to hatred, disseminate racism or make calls to violence.” I find nothing more humiliating to a nation or a community as to defame and make fun of their highly sacred person.
El Rhazoui should know that insulting the religious values of nations is an explicit act of racism and an incitement to hatred and consequently a stark violation to the journalistic ethics she claimed to respect. Therefore, the ethics highlighted by El Rhazoui are a far cry from being respected by her weekly. Driven by lucrative motives, Charlie Hebdo took advantage of the furor to provoke more Muslims and find a way out of its financial crisis, seeking above all to provide their magazine a publicity stunt. “Seventy-five thousand copies were sold on the first day,” El Ghazaoui confirmed to Slate afrique, adding that “We are all delighted to have some success and that our work reaches maximum readers. If it is profitable it is so much the better, especially for a newspaper that is in financial difficulty.”
It is a shame to see some people like, El Rhazoui, renounce their religion and turn their backs on their people while other foreigners denounce the disgusting acts insulting others’ faith and sacred values. The famous saying, “Your freedom ends where my nose begins,” has indeed a seed of wisdom. Speaking to Al Arabiya, Guido Westerwelle, the Foreign Minister in the government of Angela Merkel, said that the freedom of expression “does not mean the right to insult those who belong to another religion or have another opinion, deliberately hurt the public peace.”
More than that, the Newspaper “Osservatoura Romano,” the mouthpiece of the Vatican, went on to criticize drawings of satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published by the French weekly newspaper, describing the act as “oil on the fire.” Sadly, however, the Moroccan journalist Zineb el Rhazoui sees no harm in caricaturing the prophet Mohammad peace be upon him.
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