The horrendous and barbaric slaughter of French teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb by a zealous Chechen-born jihadist is once again shocking but not surprising.
This act of gruesome murder was carried out during the on-going trial of the terrorists behind the Islamist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Mohammed.
Paty was teaching his students about “freedoms” during a civics class and showed the cartoons to his class. There are news report that says he told his Muslim students they could turn their heads away or leave the classroom to avoid being offended.
This latest horror happened in the wake of two recent incidents at the Charlie Hebdo offices, where two people were seriously injured in a knife attack. The assailant in this case told investigators he had been angered by the magazine’s decision to republish controversial cartoons to coincide with the ongoing trial of 14 alleged accomplices of the massacre at the magazine’s offices in January of 2015.
Do I like the cartoons and want to see them? No – they are quite obnoxious. From a secular perspective, I would say the cartoons can be seen as in bad taste.
However, as a practicing Muslim, what I find extremely repugnant and offensive is violence in the name of my faith. I believe in the freedom to offend and be offended.
Would I publish cartoons of religious icons? No, I wouldn’t because my moral and ethical teachings guide me not to make mockery of another person’s faith. Would I take this to another level and resort to violence in the name of protecting my faith? No, because a faith cannot be defended or offended since it’s an idea.
So why do some Muslim zealots take it upon themselves to kill in the name of “protecting” their prophet?
Islamists are well known for justifying all their murderous actions, using any “offense” as an excuse. They are so warped and their minds so deranged that I recall a decade ago when the very same Islamists issued a fatwa against me for celebrating my prophet’s birthday!
According to a report from Qanat TV in Turkey as documented by MEMRI, Sheikh Ali Al-Yousuf of the International Union of Muslim Scholars said that from the perspective of Islamic law, one cannot say that the Chechen teen who beheaded Paty is guilty of a serious crime. Rather, he said, the teen’s transgression was that he took it upon himself to carry out the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Mohammed, while the sentence should be carried out by a sharia court in an Islamic state.
The madness does not end here. According to another documentation by MEMRI, Qatari sociologist Abd Al-Aziz Al-Khazraj Al-Ansari said in a video he uploaded to his YouTube channel that the beheading of Paty in Paris may have been a “fabrication” similar to how the 9/11 attacks had been “orchestrated” to distort the reputation of Islam.
He further said that the Chechen killer may have been paid to carry out this attack, and that Paty may have even been paid to insult the Prophet Mohammed. Al-Ansari added that while he condemns the murder, killings and stabbings are “normal reactions” to attacks against the prophet. He also said that Muslim ambassadors to France should be recalled and that French President Emmanuel Macron should be told that France’s freedom of speech laws are “stupid.”
Where does this dangerous trend of thinking and justification for violence come from?
There are two kinds of Muslims who migrate to the West or are brought up with a particular mindset in the West.
The first kind are those who fully embrace the freedoms offered by Western, liberal democracies. Some embrace Western cultural values fully while remaining committed to their faith. Others who come from totalitarian regimes want to shake off all excess baggage and become secular altogether.
The second kind are those who are mentally still in confusion about where they are (even though they are physically present in the Western world). Their minds are stuck in the 8th Century when Islam was a developing phenomenon. They can’t shake off that mindset when the only way to deal with dissent was to pick up a sword and behead the “other.”
These tribal values still resonate with these Muslims who also dream of creating a caliphate in the West where they can practice their archaic and centuries-old traditions of cutting off hands and heads plus other barbaric acts. These Muslims are easy prey for the Islamists who lure them towards a radical ideology by encouraging violence in the name of protecting Islam, just as the two scholars mentioned above.
This is the crux of the problem. But due to political correctness, neither Muslim nor non-Muslim leaders discuss this issue. In fact, the news of the Paris beheading did not get front-page coverage in many mainstream media outlets. Are they simply scared, or are they also victims of political correctness?
France is a country that runs on the motto, “liberty, equality and fraternity.” In defiance of the ideology that resulted in Paty’s murder, two town halls in the Occitanie region — Montpellier and Toulouse, projected the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the walls of a local government building.
Once again the Islamist’s were furious, but they must accept that France is not an Islamic country and prides itself on secularism and its resultant value of freedom of expression.
While some may disagree with this form of protest, these French cities have the right to do whatever they like. Moreover, this act shows us that Paty’s beheading was not just an attack on an individual. It was an attack on the values of freedom, enlightenment, dissent and critical thinking which we hold dear and near to us in the West.
Unless criminal acts are seen in the light of human rights and values of freedom; unless everyone speaks out in one voice regardless of faith, and politicians grasp the enormity of a dangerous ideology, incidents like the one in France will continue to take place. Tomorrow it will be another city, and we will continue yet again be confronted with horrific violence.
EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.