With the brutal murders (why call it “terrorism”?) of the cartoonists in Paris, there is the expected backlash against the whole Muslim community (beginning with attacks on mosques). As a secular person, I denounce this and stand with the interfaith community in support of freedom of religion, right alongside freedom of speech and thought.
I have referred to the Cartoon of Faith, but this is no laughing matter.
I have strong criticism of Islam (and all supernatural faith), but violence against any group of people cannot be allowed. It is ignorant, foolish and accomplishes nothing but further division.
My sense is that we need to listen to these statements and respect this response (NYT):
In a statement, the Muslim Council of Britain reiterated its condemnation of the killing of journalists at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
“Nothing justifies the taking of life,” Shuja Shafi, the secretary general of the council, the most prominent representative body for Britain’s Muslims, said in the statement. “Those who have killed in the name of our religion claim to be avenging the insults made against” the Prophet Muhammad, he said, “but nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved prophet than such a callous act of murder.”
“In the coming weeks, Muslims will face the test of having to justify themselves and their place in Western society,” Mr. Shafi continued. “While Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us. The best defense against closed minds is for a truly open society, welcoming of all.”
Even a non-theist freethinker. . .and maybe especially a freethinker. . .can say AMEN to that.