I appeal to all leaders to stop and consider the impact a united front for 'Free Speech' and 'Liberty' will have at this point. Instead consider condemning both parties. The murderers and those who printed such offensive remarks so abusing their right to free speech. In this way we can give the terrorists one less reason to attack again. In confirming people's right to free speech we will instead cause ourselves a waterfall of backlash that we will be unable to control. I write with anxiety in my chest as I cannot imagine how many more individual lives will be lost for the sake of 'free speech'.
No one of us can in anyway condone these violent and horrific murders which are nothing less than inhuman and criminal. They are criminal by any standards and most certainly by the Islamic standard. Let me remind you that Islam is derived from the word Salam which means 'peace'. Everything about this faith is peace and yet unfortunately there are many who hold themselves out as being from this faith with complete ignorance of the faith. As we know many of these terrorists we know of today have been seen reading 'Quran for dummies' just days prior to their attacks.
No one can argue that anything can justify the actions of terrorists like these, however, if we have a clear solution to appease them, a clear solution to reduce the chances of our friends, families and streets becoming filled wth fear - then should we not take it? The lack of respect for each other breeds hatred versus tolerance which breeds peace. The Al Jazeera internal email leak provided really good food for thought on this. The Charlie Hebdo satirical cartoons were deeply offensive to a faith of over two billion people (on some estimates). As it was so aptly put by Mohamed Vall Salem - 'I guess if you insult 1.5billion people chances are one or two of them will kill you... they don't represent the 1.5 who swallowed the insult in silence and patience in the name of free speech'.
Mohamed Vall isn't saying what happened was in anyway acceptable, he is simply saying that it is not unreasonable to expect this outcome when you do something which insults and offends such a big population of our fellow humans.
He continues 'And I guess if you encourage people to go on insulting 1.5billion people about their most sacred icons then you just want more killings because as I said in 1.5billion there will remain some fools who don't abide by the laws or know about free speech. Simply put, it's difficult to control and tame and brake down or otherwise punish or educate all those 1.5billion people. Isn't it simply wiser to respect peoples' sacred values and sacred icons? Respect breeds respect, insult can degenerate into something worse than just insult, depending who who's at the the receiving end'
Freedom of Speech is a fundamental right - but as with all rights there comes a line at the point that our right infringes upon someone else's right. There is no ambiguity over whether these cartoons were offensive, the Muslim faith is not some remote unknown faith - people know and have done for years that insulting the Prophet Mohammed is unacceptable the same way insulting anyone's faith in such a derogatory manner would be.
To live peacefully amongst each other we need to respect each other and since faith is such an integral part of people's lives this means respecting each others' faiths. So instead of marching for rights and the liberty to say and do as one wishes, our leaders should be condemning insults by anyone to anyone of any faith. Our leaders should be speaking out demanding that we respect this fundamental right and not abuse this right to free speech. This isn't a civilisational attack on European values as many have termed it - it's about learning to respect eachother and not abusing our right to free speech.