I walked home feeling numb. As I stepped out of the bitter cold into the familiar warmth, I thought of those who wouldn’t go home last night. As a ”radical pacifist”, an advocate of freedom, democracy and equality, the cold-blooded attack of the Charlie Hebdo magazine was a blow, not only to my most fundamental beliefs and principles, but – and most significantly of all – to everything a democratic society stands for.
So, reading today an article by radical Muslim cleric and lecturer in sharia, Anjem Choudary, in which he is questioning ‘‘why did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?” came as an earthquake aftershock: equally frightening but totally expected.
Charlie Hebdo was ”allowed” to provoke because that is what they are there to do: commenting on society’s shortcomings using satire, giant doses of humour and absurd cartoons. That much is clear.
The question should therefore be, whether the followers of the esteemed Muslim preacher should be ”allowed” to shoot point-blank in the name of sanctity. Is Islam nothing but a belief system perpetually stuck in pre-adolescent, oversimplifying and absolutist rage – in a seemingly permanent state of immaturity?
Where does one’s liberty become another’s oppression?
Could there – will there – ever be a meeting point?
I don’t want to change the world here and, indeed, I wouldn’t know how. But if adding my voice against society’s absurd, hypocritical ways would help sketch it a little bit better, then I raise my voice for Charlie.
And so should we all!