Don’t Shoot the Messenger… But Don’t Draw the Messenger Either

This morning, the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical and self-proclaimed “provocative” magazine in Paris was subject to a terrorist attack, leaving 12 people killed. The attack was a response to a series of controversial comics, including one depicted Prophet Muhammad with a human face.

As is the popular sentiment, I am horrified to hear of the massacre of the innocent journalists as Jesuis Paris. It hasn’t been confirmed that this is the doing of radical terrorists, but let’s be real. It was. Their actions were not justified and they deserve to be objected to immediate consequences for their inexcusable actions.

There are two issues here. The first is the misconception that these terrorists are Muslim. For one thing, these people are not Muslims. As I want to shout from every rooftop located in the Western Hemisphere, Islam is a religion that holds peace and acceptance in its highest values. Muslims don’t say hello and goodbye, they say “peace be upon you” and “with peace, goodbye.” Though the political cartoons were targeted at provoking all Muslims, the people that responded with executing them do not deserve to be called Muslims. However, there is an unspoken population here that were hurt and offended by these illustrations. And it’s this silent people that will continue to be mocked the retaliation plans for these terrorists. “Draw Prophet Muhammad Day” is not the right direction to take a reclaim for freedom of speech. As my friend Kyle put it, “I’ve always been of the opinion that satire should mean something more than just “f*** you,” so the whole “let’s keep drawing Muhammad” is pretty despicable.”

With that, I want to talk about the second issue, the issue of provocative journalism.

  1. Who are you provoking? All Muslims. We’re talking a faith that comprises 23% of the world’s population.
  2. Why are you provoking them? Besides the classic “because we can answer,” maybe it can be said that it’s a mission to sensitize words and pictures that people take too seriously. To that, I say that some people will never understand how holy and sacred something can be to some people. Again, not to the extent that they have the right to kill. Let me reiterate that. Killing is wrong.

In a more understandable frame, I think it’s fair to compare the caliber of this to putting the N-word on the cover of a TIMES magazine. Do you have the freedom to do so? Technically, yes. But why, why, WHY would you?

I guess I’m ultimately struggling to understand the concept of a provocative magazine. And I’m struggling to understand how so many crazy people are able to so grossly misinterpret the philosophy of the Muslim faith.