It’s news at the moment, everybody seems to be Charlie! Are you Charlie? Have you looked into Charlie?
Yes, I am for „freedom of speech“ an no I do not think it is right to send out people with guns to murder all those who diagree with each other. As a Christian I believe that life is a gift from God and therefore precious. Thus, I too, condemn the many killings we have heard of recently and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones.
We human beings find it helpful to live in community, because we need each other, even when we get on each others‘ nerves. I believe my freedom ends where it encroaches on your freedom. If you are speaking, I will do my best not to interrupt and if I see that your steps will cross mine, I will try to avoid knocking you down. What you hold precious, I will respect and would hope that you, too, would respect things that I hold precious.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says „In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.“ (Mt12:7). These words are often known as the „golden rule“ and found in a negative form in the rabbinic Judaism, as well as Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and also in similar statements in both Greek and Roman ethics.
The magazin Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine which publishes cartoons, reports, polemics and jokes that are not to everybody’s taste. Back in 2011 cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed upset followers of Islam. I must admit, I too would undoubtedly be sensitive to cartoons which presented Jesus in an irreverent way.
The magazine which had had a relatively small circulation has now been catapulted into a world publication, with translations into Arabic and Turkish. People will buy it out of curiosity and somebody is certainly making money on all this.
But what of our Moslem sisters and brothers? The radical ones will rant and rave and burn Charlie, and some may even get out guns and continue making themselves known. And the normal Moslems, like normal people of every tradition, will shake their heads and possibly even weep at crimes committed in the name of Allah, which are the work of criminals.
To conclude I would like to quote from the statement issued by the Interreligious Conference of European Women Theologians: „We are saddened by the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and wish the families of the murdered and wounded much stregth. We uphold dialogue as the means of resolving conflict.
As Jewish, Christian and Moslem women theologians, we are convinced that God is not praised by killing others, but by living with respect and compassion for all, including those whose opinions we do not share. We are committed to contributing to a Europe where people consider religious diversity not as a threat, but as an enrichment and a source for peaceful living.