Although the lives of the French cartoonists were ended by terrorists, their work continues on. The cover page of their latest edition grabbed attention—they printed three million copies in 16 languages—and it became a best selling magazine last week.
Many people believe the cartoonists went too far, that their decision to publish the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed was like putting fuel into fire. Many Muslims think that it was an offensive act and that the cartoonists were too satirical and too extreme, daring to even draw such cartoons, and then to publish them. They think that anyone who insults the prophet and God is their enemy and that the cartoonists knew the risks in their work. They say it was extremists, not beautiful Islam and his messenger attacking Charlie Hebdo magazine.
But I don’t want to talk about the beauty or the reality of our religion in this essay. I just can’t understand how cartoons can offend them so much. If we know Prophet Mohammed, why would we think he could be offended by a cartoon? I hope I am right. I think the way we grow up as Muslims is that we sometimes look only at ourselves. We live inside our belief that it is we who must be respected, without respecting others. It is we who must be heard, without listening to others. We insist on being accepted without accepting others.
We have people who obey like slaves—they write the name of Prophet Mohammed with capital letters and name their son Mohammed. But if someone in a democratic and open society talks about our way of life and our beliefs, we get angry, we lose our minds, and sometimes even decide to kill them.
Writers, journalists, cartoonists, freedom fighters, human rights activists—when they speak or write or draw, it is not always about their own way of life. They look at our world, they see us, they feel us, but their eyes are not like mine and yours. They see the world from another perspective. They see a society, a generation, the world. They don’t overlook people like me and you. A person who doesn’t accept and believe in God has the same rights as everyone else. A person who is not Muslim is as human as you and I. Let’s be honest. Don’t we ignore this?
The pen in the hand of a writer, a journalist, or a cartoonist can be the voice of people. With the power of their pens they show us what is going on in the world, what is reality and what are lies, what is right and what is wrong.
In the new edition the magazine has a cartoon of Mohammed shedding a tear in sympathy with the killed journalists, with the headline All Is Forgiven.
I think that instead of killing and blood, we need to wake up and see the world, respect the world, and our humanity, with laughter, admiration, tolerance and acceptance. Let’s get out of the hell our minds create.