Why Must Hindus Denounce the Brutal Massacre at the Offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris – Barry Nirmal

bkn2004Why Must Hindus Denounce the Brutal Massacre at the Offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris


All Hindus must vehemently denounce the brutal massacre of the editors and staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015. In that attack, two masked gunmen, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, killed twelve people, including the editor Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, seven other Charlie Hebdo employees, and police officers, and wounded eleven others. The newspaper has attracted worldwide attention for its regular depictions of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

The attackers are heard in the video shouting that they have avenged their prophet and shouting “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great”.  [1]

This attack on the editors of a left-wing publication that published satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as well as many religious and political figures in France and elsewhere is vile and detestable.  Just minutes prior to this brutal attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Charlie Hebdo did not consider religious leaders including prophets immune from their attack. They believed in attacking religion when it came in the political arena. In other words, they believed that when religion interferes in politics, it is justifiable to criticize it. This thinking is in keeping with the principle of separation of state and religion, which is followed in the West. 

The attack on Charlie Hebdo is an attack on the very foundation of Western civilization. It is an attack on the very basic and core beliefs of the West, which are freedom of expression, and freedom of press. As Voltaire said, “I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  This famous statement of Voltaire defined the era of Enlightenment and is the foundation of modern Western society.

We agree with Salman Rushdie when he said the following after this massacre.

“I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.  ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” [2]

The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was the conscious heir to a French intellectual tradition with a long history of radical anticlericalism.

So, Charlie Hebdo not only attacked Islam’s prophet but also other figures. As Wall Street Journal explained, “Before the Charlie Hebdo era (the magazine dates from the late 1960s), France’s most influential anticlerical thinkers trained their fire on Catholicism—for centuries the country’s state religion. As a rule, however, these individuals objected not so much to precise points of religious doctrine as to the fanaticism, ignorance and persecution that, in their view, tended to accompany “true faith.” The opponents of doctrinaire Catholicism used caricature, irony and humorous blasphemy—thus setting the tone for Charlie Hebdo’s later fight with jihadist Islam.” [3]

This author agrees with Amnesty International when they say that the freedom of expression is a human right.

All Hindus must vehemently denounce the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. This is an attack not only on Charlie Hebdo but on all people who value freedom of expression and freedom of the press.


[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30719057

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900976/Salman-Rushdie-condemns-Charlie-Hebdo-attack-sign-deadly-mutation-heart-Islam.html

[3] http://www.wsj.com/articles/charlie-hebdo-is-heir-to-the-french-tradition-of-religious-mockery-1420842456?mod=e2fb


** The End **

Barry Nirmal is the founder of many websites, e.g. www.myads.org, Hinduism Research website at www.myads.org/hindu, and the Journal of Rational Thought at www.myads.org/journal.

He founded the Hinduism Research website at www.myads.org/hindu,
after returning from Saudi Arabia in 1997 where he spent a few years working as a computer specialist. He witnessed first hand the hatred of the Saudi authorities for Hindus and Hinduism. 
Barry graduated with a B.Tech degree from the world famous Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. He also obtained his
Masters degree in engineering from University of Nebraska.
Barry has written six textbooks on computing published by Prentice Hall, Inc and John Wiley & Sons. His books can be found by searching Google for ‘Barry Nirmal books’. 
Apart from writing many published articles on computing, he has written numerous essays that have been published on the Journal of Rational Thought, atwww.myads.org/journal. His essays can be found by searching Google for ‘Barry Nirmal essays’. 
Barry can be reached at BarryNirmal@gmail.com.

Source: WHN Media Network

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