Following the ghastly Charlie Hebdo terror attack, while the liberal world was rallying around the victims, some privileged people decided to shift the ‘goalpost of the moment‘ from Islamist extremism to the liberal world’s definition of and duplicity with regards freedom of speech. And oh, they also kind of insinuated that ‘Charlie Hebdo called it upon itself’. Here is my response to one such person:
Dear Mehdi Hasan,
Selective retention is the bedrock of deliberate distortion. And nothing in recent times has been more demonstrative of that than your outburst, ‘as a Muslim‘, wherein you make slick use of the former to reach your favoured latter.
You could have just said that while you deplore the murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, you disagree with the #JeSuisCharlie proponents and that you are NOT Charlie – because you believe Charlie never cared much to exercise the responsibility that comes with the right to free speech.
Instead, you, ‘as a Muslim’, devise ever new arguments to paint the swell of humanity in Paris on January 11, 2014 as not only deeply hypocritical but divisive and demonizing: ‘us’ (backward, barbaric) Muslims versus (enlightened, liberal) ‘them’ in the west.
Sure hypocrisy walked alongside the largely well-weaning citizens of the world. But far from it being the distance between Muslims and the west, and precious little else, it brought to light the duplicity of the west AND Muslims.
For instance, while the tragedy has brought to the fore the absolute indifference of the same outpouring to tragedies of much ghastlier proportions elsewhere, it has laid bare the travesty implicit in the reaction, like yours, to ‘their’ reaction to Paris killings:
Just imagine if 2K people had been killed in the France attacks. #BokoHaram
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) January 13, 2015
Many who complain about #CharlieHebdo are hypocrites: Takfiris have been smashing other people’s sacred values, s.a. Shiite shrines.
— Nassim NicholنTaleb (@nntaleb) January 20, 2015
Out of 40 official representatives at the Unity March, at least 10 – one fourth of the global public figures – belonged to Muslim majority nations / territories, if not officially Islamic nations. Were they – and by extension their Muslim citizens – ‘updating Dubya’s slogan: Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic’?
At a memorial service prior to the rally for three police officers killed in the attack, French president Francois Hollande described Ahmed Merabet, one of the three dead, as ‘a symbol of the diversity of France’s forces of law and order’ and made him, along with the other two, a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur.
Later in the day, it was an unprecedented confluence of people of all races, religions, regions and ages – including the likes of French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, known for his anti-Semitic jokes and creation of the allegedly anti-Semitic gesture, the ‘quenelle’. He was at least once the recipient of cover page ridicule by Charlie Hebdo.
Communities that you argue could get pitted against each other due to the unprecedented reaction to the Charlie Hebdo killings were actually found, at least for the day, by each other’s side – as this Tweet by Faisal Islam, the political editor of Sky News, shows:
Placards of unity from two Frenchmen at the Paris rally: one Jewish, one Muslim: pic.twitter.com/VvKzDk11jt
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) January 11, 2015
Point being, the sea of humanity that defied the act of terror was made up of people of all sorts – not just Muslims and Jews, but also extreme leftists, liberals and atheists. Not everyone agreed with Charlie – and vice versa. Hence, when they carried ‘Je Suis Charlie’ placards, along with ‘Je Suis Musulman’, ‘Je Suis Juif’, ‘Je Suis Ahmed’, ‘Je Suis François’ etc, they were there basically expressing solidarity with each other – and not necessarily talking just about ‘being Charlie’ or about free speech .
For you, ‘as a Muslim’, to suggest that those at the Unity March would not realise and appreciate the many facets of the protest is breathtakingly arrogant.
Once an apologist…
Your argument that the ‘free speech fundamentalists’ are ‘playing into the bloodstained hands’ is precisely the apologist stance that has for long provided an alibi for Islamist terror (we can talk about all other shades of terror at length in some other discussion) that is currently gaining traction all over. The argument is akin to the ludicrous slant to violence that we find in many patriarchal societies, like, for instance, India: ‘Girls can’t go around wearing a short skirt and then complain of rape’.
No, seriously: how does a peaceful protest against a massacre become an equivalent of justification for further attacks?
And where does your conviction stem from about the crime by ‘disaffected young men’ was more about US torture in Iraq in 2004 and not the cartoons – despite the extremely conspicuous ‘Prophet is avenged‘ shout around the massacre?
It was probably for the benefit of innocent souls like you that Yemen’s Al Qaeda branch released a video on January 14 to claim responsibility for the ‘operation’.
Never mind the Paris killers; read the following from Fareed Zakaria’s latest post to rethink your tendency to provide simplistic explanation for every terror attack across the globe (emphasis mine):
‘The United States’ non-intervention in Bosnia in the early 1990s is said to have spawned Islamic radicalism, as did the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s, as did the partnership with Pakistan’s military, as did drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, as did the surge in Afghanistan, as did the withdrawal of troops from that country. When the United States intervenes, it is said to provoke terrorists; when it doesn’t, it is said to show that Washington is weak. No matter what the United States has done over the past two decades, Islamic radicalism has been on the rise, often directed against the United States and its Western allies, and it always finds a few alienated young men who act on its perverse ideology.’
Just out of curiosity, is it because of US torture in Iraq that the terrorists chose a Jewish grocery store and not any of the blatantly American joints like, say, Breakfast in America?
Murder-murder fair game
After suggesting that the Paris tragedy protestors were ‘dividing and demonising’, you – quite adorably – decide to speak on behalf of them, reminding them how no one believes in an ‘untrammelled right to free speech’. And what better way to illustrate that than posing counter offence scenarios.
Yeah right, we believe you Mehdi – the Paris killers would’ve been fine with the Prophet Mohammed [PBUH] cartoons, as long as Charlie ‘offended’ others too.
You would think that you, ‘as a Muslim’, are being clever by challenging ‘their publication’ to ‘run cartoons mocking the Holocaust’. Alas, you come across as deliberately mischievous – because you would very well be aware of the fact that France has stringent laws against Holocaust denial (négationnisme in French).
Under the Gayssot Act, anyone who ‘(publicly) disputes the existence of crimes against humanity’ – as defined and ruled on by the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg in 1945-46 – can be punished by one month’s to one year’s imprisonment or / and a (maximum) fine of €45,000.
Because of the very grim historical and geopolitical context, the issue is of such intense significance to many societies in Europe that the European Union in 2007 made denying the Holocaust punishable by jail sentences – while allowing the 27-nation EU the option of not enforcing the law if such a prohibition did not exist in their own laws. The restriction on discourse surrounding the Holocaust does not exist in countries like the UK, Sweden and Denmark. But in France, it does.
Are you holding Charlie responsible for not breaking the law of the land?
And yet, Charlie Hebdo did at times tread close to the topic:
The text reads:
‘Finally, you can say it
Super Nice “Hi kikes!
What’s up?’ ‘
Ca gaze?’ is generally an everyday phrase for ‘What’s up?. But in this context, it is argued, it’s also a evil pun about gas chambers.
And then there is the one that reads ‘The filming of Holocaust’:
The director is seen to be shouting ‘Tuck the Tummy’.
In 2013, Charlie Hebdo went particularly after Jewish religious tenets with the publishing of a series entitled ‘One Commandment a Day: The Torah Illustrated by Charb‘. The series ridiculed the cherished value system of Jews via everyday happenings in general and the Israel-Palestine conflict in particular.
In the cartoon below about the Jewish Commandment ‘Ne pas opprimer les faibles’ (Don’t oppress the weak), a Jewish man is seen firing at a Palestinian woman while saying, ‘Here, take that Goliath!’.
Similarly, one of the cartoons, depicting the Commandment ‘Ne pas se venger’ (Don’t be vindictive), shows a woman lying in a pool of blood. The man in the illustration says, ‘Don’t make such a fuss about it. No hard feelings’.
Christian examples? Again, there are aplenty. But sample this about a Christian organization filing a petition against (but not murdering) Charlie Hebdo for hurting religious feelings to the extent of it being a hate incident!
But beyond the technicality of law and parity of offence lies the more relevant detail – common sense.
Cartoons of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), as per the creators and the French court that took the case of publication of the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, are about challenging and/or lampooning the degenerated fractions/expressions of a belief/faith and not the faith itself.
Cartoon about holocaust would be akin to having a laugh about one of the greatest human tragedies of our times.
That you could even mention something like (has your publication carried) ‘caricatures of the 9/11 victims falling from the twin towers’ reflects your complete lack of judgment. How far is it from some people in the Middle East celebrating the 9/11 attack?
I’m sorry, your following it up with ‘I didn’t think so (and I am glad it hasn’t)’ doesn’t wash away any of that.
(iii) The ‘thought experiment’
The “thought experiment” offered by the Oxford philosopher Brian Klug is just preposterous. It is like asking ‘what if a person carries a provocative picture of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) into Mecca during the Ramadan period’. It would be just that – (needlessly) provocative.
Last heard, none of the Charlie Hebdo staff had ever barged into people’s personal, social or official gatherings – at homes, offices and public spaces – to force them to come face to face with Charlie cartoons, let alone force them to buy the magazine.
It is extremely self-righteous of you to suggest that the west does not realise that the right to offend doesn’t come sans corresponding responsibility. Out of thousands and thousands of news vehicles across the western world, only a select few media houses ever officially published those cartoons. But I presume acknowledging that would not go with your story.
The Christiane Taubira cartoon
While there are countless forums that provide a contextual explanation of the context of depiction of French justice minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, they mean nothing to you. You have already made up your mind about that: ‘Lampooning racism by reproducing brazenly racist imagery is a pretty dubious satirical tactic’.
So now, celebrated French satirists, who follow a nearly 400-year-old tradition of mocking religion, royalty and other institutions, now have to learn about acceptable satirical tactics from you.
By the way, can you please inform the world why Taubira sued the paper Charlie Hebdo were parodying, and not Charlie Hebdo? Or, why are the far right party members facing the French legal system heat about the racist mocking and not Charlie Hebdo? ‘Dubious legal tactic’ by the French justice system, eh?
So Olivier Cyran ‘argued’ in 2013 that ‘Islamophobic neurosis gradually took over” the magazine after 9/11, which then effectively endorsed attacks on “members of a minority religion with no influence in the corridors of power’.
Letting go of the possibility of Olivier grinding his axe against his former colleagues for having to leave Charlie Hebdo under acrimonious circumstances and also the fact that Charlie first published the cartoons in 2006 as a ‘show of solidarity’ with a Danish cartoonist, I would like to ask you whether you cared to read the response to Olivier’s charge? If not, what does it reflect about the caliber of your argument? If yes, why did you selectively omit that?
Readers can refer to the following, critically relevant portion of this: If Charlie Hebdo is racist, then so am I — Zineb el-Rhazoui responds to Olivier Cyran.
‘If you will allow an Arab to address her own complaint, let me tell you that your rhetoric and arguments are the most sophisticated variety of racism that exists in France. […] First of all, you quote Bernard Maris, Catherine, Charb, Caroline Fourest. What about me, what about me! You preferred to omit my name, when it was my articles that you pointed to as dangerously “Islamophobic,” thus, according to you, necessarily racist. Frankly, I wondered why, and I see only two options: Either you didn’t want to let Charlie Hebdo’s detractors know that the author of these racist ravings belongs precisely to the Muslim “race,” or…’
Quite ominously, Zineb, signs off with this:
‘For me, it’s the pen of Charb (Stéphane Charbonnier), one of the most pro-Palestinian writers in the French press, with which I find affinity. Charb, because of this lynching to which you are contributing through the confusion of your ideas, is today being threatened by al-Qaeda and lives under police protection. So which side is hatred on?’
Why did you, ‘as a Muslim’, overlook this precise response by ‘a Muslim woman’ to Olivier’s charge of Islamophobia?
(Only) Ahmed… not Charlie
Many across the world would want to be Ahmed Merabet (May his soul rest in peace). For you, he was a ‘Muslim policeman’; but for the rest of world, the honourable man shall remain ‘a French policeman’ who died on duty.
Unlike the Jews at the store who were killed because of their religion, Ahmed was not shot dead because he was a Muslim. On that day, he was at Charlie Hebdo. On another day, he could have been providing security to a visiting dignitary belonging to the Saudi royal family, one of the biggest benefactors of the global Islamist extremism. He would still have been an honourable French policeman.
And that is why millions of ‘non Muslims’ across the world, including yours truly, too shared Ahmed’s photograph and paid him respects on social media via hashtag #JeSuisAhmed. How many of those non-Muslims know the names of the remaining non-Muslim dead police personnel? How many Muslims know that?
By the way, what about Mustapha Ourrad? Not convenient enough an example since he, unlike Ahmed, actually worked for the magazine?
This is one of the most oft-cited charges against Charlie. I’m not sure if you simply borrowed it from the pool or were in part instrumental in this being circulated.
First, let’s get the Mise-en-Scène correct. The episode followed the engagement of former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s son to the heiress of a Jewish electronic goods chain. Commenting, without any evidence whatsoever, on a rumour that Sarkozy junior planned to convert to Judaism, Sinet quipped: “He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.”
According to the then editor of Charlie, a passionate Jew name Philippe Val, it ‘could be interpreted as making a link between conversion to Judaism and social success’.
In agreement with Val, many in France, including leading figures of the country’s moderate left (as against extreme Left) such as Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë and philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy, considered Sinet’s comment as anti-Semitic. Sinet was dragged to court by Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA), an anti-racist group.
Sinet, however, won both a wrongful termination suit against Charlie Hebdo – 40,000 in Euros – and the LICRA suit.
But the perception didn’t go away – largely because of Sinet’s past. In a 1982 radio interview, shortly after a terrorist attack on Jews in Paris, Sinet said: ‘Yes, I am anti-Semitic and I am not scared to admit it… I want all Jews to live in fear, unless they are pro-Palestinian. Let them die.’ (He later apologized for the comments.)
Don’t you think that you, ‘as a Muslim’, should’ve mentioned those, rather useful points too? Or would that be too much to expect?
Yes, Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten did reject cartoons mocking Christ – by initially telling the illustrator of those cartoons that ‘they would cause an outrage’. And that is indeed hypocritical.
But the story ran its full course only a couple of years later. First, the (same) Christ cartoons did get published in a Danish daily a few years later (no one was killed for that) – albeit in Jylland-Posten’s fierce rival, Politiken. Second, Politiken even published the email exchange between Jylland-Posten and Christoffer Zieler – the freelance illustrator who had submitted the cartoons.
Explaining his rationale (three years later), the Jyllands-Posten editor said that in hindsight he regretted the wordings: ‘My fault was that I didn’t tell him what I really meant. The cartoons were just bad’. He said that Zieler sent his cartoons for Easter Sunday printing but he rejected them, ‘like 95 percent of all (unsolicited) submissions’ – before going on to explain that he often tried to use more polite methods refusing (unsolicited) submissions.
Admittedly, the above does sound a bit stretched and remains open for interpretation. But what is not beyond doubt is your outright journalistic / professional treachery in citing just a convenient portion of the newspaper’s official position about Holocaust cartoons – “in no circumstances…publish Holocaust cartoons”.
For the actual, complete statement read this:
Editor-in-Chief Carsten Juste said his newspaper Jyllands-Posten “in no circumstances will publish Holocaust cartoons from an Iranian newspaper.”
The context of that statement: Iran, in response to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] published by European newspapers, hosted an exhibition of Holocaust cartoons – and dared the west to a ‘free speech challenge’ by publishing them.
Jyllands-Posten did not, but news daily Information did publish them.
How many Iranians establishments – anywhere – were attacked and Iranian people massacred for that?
ASIDE: As destiny (read ‘Kalashnikov’) would have it, Jyllands-Posten decided not to publish the Charie Hebdo cartoons post the Paris killings. It can’t even be called a full circle!
Vilification of Islam (Germany)
“Have you visited Germany lately,” you ask in the context of “vilification of Islam across the continent”. Quite clearly, your most immediate reference is Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (PEGIDA).
That you should be talking only about the ‘vilification’ and not about the equal in number and much, much larger counter-PEGIDA rallies held in Germany reflects, yet again, your tendency to selectively retain those images of the world that suit your narrative. The counter-PEGIDA rallies have the blessings of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Islam belongs to Germany” and “I urge German people to stay away from those (“PEGIDA”) elements” are some of the loud statements that Merkel has repeatedly made in the recent times. Can we have at least a word about that, please?
Unless you are suggesting that Merkel should not even have allowed the PEGIDA rallies to take place!
While it is true that it has always hosted some percentage of far-right elements, PEGIDA’s birth was not as much about protest against Muslims in general as it was about radical Islamisation of the continent, as sought by the Salafis.
Vilification of any group is wrong. But you know what is dangerous – to have complete disregard for possible causes of that adverse perception.
Here, have a look at this Tweet by financial analyst and commentator Anas Abbas:
— Anas Abbas (@Anas_Abbas1) January 14, 2015
By the way, have you visited Luton lately? Rhetorical question; I know you belong to England. Still, have you seen this one by Stacey Dooley about what decisively is the more complete narrative of your ‘vilification of Islam’ rant:
My Hometown Fanatics was broadcast not on Fox News, as you might have so wanted it to be, but on BBC Three on February 20, 2012.
Context, as you say but choose to overlook when convenient, is indeed important. Luton is important in the context of your ‘us’ and ‘them’ hypothesis because it is where the English Defence League (EDL) was born – ‘when a group of Muslims protested as the Royal Anglian Regiment paraded through the town on its return from Afghanistan’.
For a personal-account context of the birth of the EDL, watch this recent speech by its founder: Tommy Robinson Speaks at the Oxford Union
And for a wider context, here is a snippet:
The leader of the group that protested the Royal Anglian Regiment is an imam named Omar Bakri, also known as the Tottenham Ayatollah. Once having his base Luton, he was forced out of Britain for preaching hatred. He now lives in Lebanon. What is his organization called? London School of Sharia, which wants to create an Islamic state in Britain. Then there is the case of fertilizer bombers, who had made Luton the hub of their activity; Aftab Manzoor and Afzal Munir who joined the Taliban and died in Afghanistan; a taxi driver by the name ‘Q’ who sent fighters to AfPak etc.
In fact, even as I write this, the British press broke news about another feather in the Luton cap: Luton radical Abu Aziz has joined ISIS in Syria.
And this is just one town in England.
It is not just the ‘enlightened and liberal west’ that is talking about the rising menace of Islamist extremism. Countless Muslims across the world too are concerned about this, in their own nations. One such example from Libya:
— لؤي عمران (@loayomran) January 17, 2015
Or, more pertinently, this one by Tufail Ahmed, ex BBC Urdu Service journalist, about support for Paris killers in many pockets of India, home to the world’s second-largest Muslim society: Beware The Hate Wave
Just as you would claim (violent) jihad inspired Islamist terrorists to be “handful of extremists”, the larger European and western leadership that took part in the Paris unity march can dismiss the PEGIDA supporters – and everyone else that you believe are engaged in ‘vilification of Islam’ – as a minority voice that doesn’t represent the rest of their societies.
I agree with you that Muslims, especially in France, do often face discrimination ‘in education, employment and public life’. Where I don’t agree with you is your implicit suggestion that it happens only with Muslims and that only the ‘white Christians and Jews’ are to be blamed for that.
In their forthcoming book ‘Why Muslim Integration Fails,’ to be published by Harvard University Press, authors Claire L. Adida, David D. Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort argue:
‘Muslims and French are stuck in a vicious circle of discrimination: Muslim immigrants to France are culturally distinct from the host society in ways that are threatening to French republican ideals; such distinction feeds anti-Muslim discrimination in France, which itself encourages greater Muslim withdrawal from French society, feeding back into French discrimination. The Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher tragedies will only exacerbate this discriminatory equilibrium.’
Clearly, as with the issue of ‘vilification of Muslims’, the problem is a bit of a two way street – though the width of the two sides might be different.
Bothersome, sickening and other world leaders
But religion-neutral reasoning doesn’t seem to be the strong point of your rant in question. So, while the entire world is having a go at Barack Obama for America’s ‘no show’ at the Unity Rally, you are actually bothered about him spoken at all about the issue. Why: Because Obama “demanded that Yemen keep the anti-drone journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye behind bars”.
The Wikileaks cable about Yemen – and photographs released by Amnesty International – made it very clear that it was indeed the US shelling that had resulted in the loss of innocent lives in Yemen. But despite global pressure, the White House stood behind Obama all along on the subject of Shaye’s arrest and even expressed ‘concern and disappointment‘ at the early release of Shaye in 2013.
In other words, the US (Obama) even now asserts that Shaye has “association with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”.
Even Amnesty, which has spearheaded the campaign for Shaye’s release, protests against his conviction despite ‘lack of clear evidence of his alleged links to al-Qa’ida’.
Since when did ‘lack of clear evidence’ definitively become ‘absolutely no evidence, of any nature, whatsoever’?
Obama, however, was at best a passing reference in your post. You fire your best salvo at the most boringly predictable and declare feeling ‘sickened’ by the very sight, among world leaders, of Benjamin Netanyahu – a man “whose country was responsible for the deaths of seven journalists in Gaza 2014′.
What you don’t find it worthy to also mention was the presence of Riyadh’s emissary at the Paris march, just around the time Raif Badawi, a young liberal blogger, was publicly administered the first 50 of 1000 lashes – for founding an Internet forum (‘Free Saudi Liberals’) that ‘violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought‘.
There were examples galore of such dichotomy: Present at the Unity March in Paris were the prime minister of Turkey, which was the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2012 and 2013, and the foreign minister of Bahrain, which despite its tiny size ranks 11th worldwide for the number of journalists it holds in prison. Then there were representatives from Egypt (which is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index), United Arab Emirates (118th) etc.
Actually, how about you go through the list of country representatives that attended the March again?
But coming back to ‘Bibi’, whose mere sight got your goat: Did he or his country deliberately single out those journalists in Gaza and killed them cold-blooded?
Italian video journalist Simone Camilli was killed when an unexploded missile blew up in the northern Gaza Strip, according to his employer, The Associated Press. Similarly, Palestinian journalist al-Aryan was killed in an Israeli shelling in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza. At least 16 other people were killed in the strike, including photographer Rami Rayan of Palestine Network for Press and Media.
Gaza was an active war zone at that time. And it had got nothing to do with freedom of speech.
For someone so at odds with the country, you seem to agree with some Israeli newspapers who, in their coverage of the rally, completely removed Angela Merkel from the gathering. You, however, disagreed with her presence because in her country “Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison”.
I mean, seriously?
Volksverhetzung is a legislation passed by Germany’s parliament in 1985 (Amendments 1992, 2002 and 2005). While it is by and large associated with ‘denial of holocaust’, it actually prohibits ‘incitement of hatred against a particular group of people‘ – while still ‘allowing for broader freedom of speech’.
Do you seriously want people to believe that it is hypocritical of Angela to attend a free speech (unity) march just because Germany has that law?
The tragic finally ends up becoming hysterical when you say that it bothers you to see your own Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants to ban non-violent “extremists” committed to the “overthrow of democracy” from appearing on television.
So let me get this right here: You are saying that if someone draws cartoons that are offensive to some/many, the person should be deemed irresponsible and restrained, even though the person might not be doing anything against the law of the land. On the other hand, a prime minister of a multicultural democracy should not even “want to” bring in a law in the parliament that, in the interest of every single citizen of the country, is aimed at “banning non-violent extremists committed to the overthrow of democracy”.
Irony, draped in many shades of hypocrisy, just died with that proposition.
At the end of your charge sheet, you triumphantly assert that you’ve proved that Muslims are not the only ones who get offended. But of course ‘non Muslims’ too get offended. Then again, name one instance…
Phew! (Or is it ‘sigh’?)
Flipping the title of your article around, I would say ‘As a Non Muslim, I’m Fed Up With the Hypocrisy of Chesty Voices Like You’. ‘Non Muslim’ is not my identity; I felt forced to wear the badge after you, ‘as a Muslim’, clubbed us all together. Who started the ‘us’ and ‘them’ here, my ‘Muslim friend’?
As for the readers of this piece, I just have one thing to say: Naked extremists, who move around with Kalashnikovs, are growing in strength and span *in part also* because many closet extremists, who waltz around with pens and microphones, obstruct and obfuscate the real conversation about the rising menace.
Credits: All the three cartoon images (two magazine covers and one standalone illustration) have been used only for representation purpose. Their rights belong to the respective copyright owners.