Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, writing in Pakistan’s Friday Times, calls it deceitful to claim that the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and other murderous outbursts “have nothing to do with Islam or Muslims.”
The barefaced deceit gets the backing of the liberal left of the West, that gets extra brownie points for speaking up about the self-inflicted ‘marginalisation of Muslims’, most of whom continue to avoid befriending ‘Jews and Christians’ because their scripture ostensibly prohibits it.
And so when the Charlie Hebdo office was attacked in Paris last week, everything from France’s occupation of Algeria over half a century ago to the economic disparity between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country was touted as the raison d’etre. Fingers have been pointed everywhere except at the awkward truth that the majority of Muslims around the world, and their version of Islam, endorse killing ‘blasphemers’.
I don’t know if it’s actually the majority, but the number is clearly not small enough.
It is the same version that is practised, among many other Muslim countries, in Saudi Arabia, where Islam originated and where the entire Muslim world goes to offer pilgrimage. The same country, facing which all Muslims offer salat; where Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger, has been punished with 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ – the same ‘crime’ that Charlie Hebdo’s satirists committed. The same crime that is officially punishable by death in 13 countries – all Muslim states.
If there were a worldwide survey about the punishment that Charlie Hebdo journalists deserved for drawing and promoting those cartoons, the answer of the majority of the Muslim world is common knowledge, should we prefer being honest about it. And when the majority of the Muslims and almost all of the Islamic clergy are ‘misinterpreting’ the text identically, obviously the intelligibility of the scriptures comes under scrutiny.
That’s why holy books are such poison. It’s because the belief that there is such a thing as a “holy book” is such poison.
By that logic all Muslims and their scriptures would be ‘asking to be’ attacked by orthodox Christians for refusing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the son of God, or for the ubiquitous bile being spewed against Hinduism, especially in Pakistan.
Would the apologists be consistent in their argument if Hindu or Christian extremists started butchering Muslims because they disrespected their God? What about the nonreligious folk – the nonbelievers that have eternal hellfire sanctioned for them by almost every religious scripture? Should they retaliate with violence after taking offence at the fact that the deity absolutely despises them?
All religions are offensive to every other religion.
And that’s why secularism is needed.