“Every time we draw a cartoon of Mohammed, every time we draw a cartoon of prophets, every time we draw a cartoon of God, we defend the freedom of religion,” – Gérard Biard,.
Firstly as a Muslim, I do not support the mass shooting at Charlie Hebdo’s office and it must not been done in the name of Islam because it is wrong according to the teaching of Islam Ahli As-Sunnah Wa Al-Jama`ah, as what we practise in Malaysia.
Now, it is always interesting to see how people interpret freedom of speech and freedom of religion and use them for their own agendas.
I do not understand why humiliating and disgracing religions can be regarded as defending freedom of religion.
Freedom of religion means the rights for everybody to manifest his or her religion in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; and not the rights for everybody to insult religions.
So people who support freedom of religion must respect these rights and not the other way around.
When one make fun and disgraces a religion, the person no longer respect the rights of the believers of that religion; hence there is no more freedom of religion.
Then talking about freedom of expression and freedom of speech, some people believe in total freedom and that they have the rights to do anything or say anything they like, including to purposely hurting or insulting others and there is no limit to how far they can go.
I cannot comment about the French law regarding freedom of expression and freedom of speech because I do not know about the constitution of the country; however as a civilised and responsible person I think that it is weird to purposely make fun and insult religion just because the law allows one to do so.
Just because my mother bought me a big box of my favourite chocolate, it does not mean that I should eat them all at once, because that will not be healthy; and so I must think before I do something.
It is a good thing because we must learn to respect each other and while some people love to insult others, most of them do not like to be insulted in return.
And while the supporters of Charlie Hebdo want others to respect their freedom of expression and freedom of speech, they themselves cannot respect the freedom of expression and freedom of speech of others.
They slam Pope Francis for saying:
“There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits,” and that “one cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”
And Gérard Biard denounced the Western publications that have declined to reprint his paper’s controversial cartoons, he told NBC that:
“When they refuse to publish this cartoon, when they blur it out, when they decline to publish it, they blur out democracy.”
Isn’t democracy means the right for everybody to choose what we want?
So if Gérard Biard and his supporters believe in democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of speech, they must not slam the Pope and those publications for not following their ideas.