Do people really appreciate, let alone understand, what it is that they are marching in favor of? Do those same people understand the massive difference between what is being claimed as a Right, as a Freedom, and the Rights and Freedoms of those people on the other side of the street?
The killing of so many people in France – the killing of so many thousands of people around the world – in the name of religion, regardless of which religion it may be, is clearly wrong. It was wrong in ancient times, it is wrong today. There can be no sane justification for taking a life in such a manner, no matter what has happened, what they have done. There can also be no justifiable religious reason for taking lives in such a manner – whether it be in France, in Syria or elsewhere – especially when all religions claim to be peace-loving.
Clearly what is happening in the Middle East at the moment, the advance of the Islamic State, has nothing to do with peaceful co-existence and, for the bulk of Muslims, nothing to do with religion either. The leaders of this movement should not, therefore, be placed on the same level as the ordinary Muslim who follows his or her religion according to a peaceful and socially acceptable interpretation.
Likewise the killing of a group of people in Paris, mainly connected to the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, should not be placed upon the shoulders of the vast majority of Muslims. It should, however, be looked upon in a different light. The periodical and its employees attacked the entire Muslim religion with their satirical articles and cartoons. They did not limit themselves to what is wrong, what is being taken out of context, what is being mis-used and abused in the name of religion. Their satirical works – or what we in the West might see as being satirical – attacked millions of people who have nothing to do with the violence or abuses of those taking their chosen – or inherited – religious beliefs as an invitation to kill and maim.
The various Freedoms and Rights we have won and earned over many years can just as easily be abused as they can be lost. To claim the Right to abuse an entire religion simply because of a few, to claim Freedom of the Press, of Expression, of Opinion to heap abuse and vilification on others is an abuse of that Right and Freedom just as much as to claim that religion allows the killing of others to further its ends.
There can be no justification for the murders in Paris, if those who take it upon themselves to commit such acts claim to be doing it in the name of their religion. At the same time, there can be no justification for the abuse of an entire religion, people, country, ethnic race, sexual orientation in the name of Freedom. The Right to practice any Freedom should be coupled with the intelligence, the commonsense to realize that this Freedom is limited, and that those being vilified, attacked, abused who have nothing to do with a violent interpretation of a religious passage, belief or similar are having their Rights and Freedoms abused too. To claim Freedom and Right whilst denying Freedom and Right through abuse of those same Freedoms and Rights should be no ones Right.
- Viktoria Michaelis.