Our world is trending on controversial hashtags these days: be it #JeSuisCharlie, #PeshawarAttack or #IWillRideWithYou. We all have our own opinions and thoughts—but what exactly does “freedom of speech” mean?
Is it having the right to express an opinion on something that you observe or read, or is it the power to criticize someone on the basis of their religion, nationality or color?
To me, it is simply the power to generate your idea and raise your voice for justice.
I’d like to emphasize that I’m not here to criticize any theory or ideology. Everyone in this world has the right to believe in their own ways and no one has the right to mock them. God gave us the freedom of making our own decisions and taking charge of situations. He never asked us to rely on Him for every act. True, there are certain things that are in His hands (like our life and death) but on the journey from life to death, He has given us the power. Assigned Angels and Demons for us to take their opinions for right or wrong but ultimately the choice is left on us.
And what are all we doing here with that power? Just passing discriminatory remarks about each other and bullying in an immature way. Sure, it boils your blood if someone bullies your faith or ridicules your religion, but does that mean you should take out the sword and cut his throat?
I believe that everyone has the right to form his expression, yet I also believe that if you know something will offend a certain group, why take that path? There are other ways to make your magazine popular…is it necessary to choose the sensitive path? Make it more controversial just to get fame or some buzz?
Religion has always been a sensitive topic. Be it Jesus, Moses or Muhammad, I don’t think anyone should criticize someone’s belief system or the way they respect someone. Freedom of speech does NOT mean criticizing and mocking! It means you have the right to give your opinion on any matter without ridiculing someone’s ideology. And how do you do that? Work on the idea of think-before-you-speak.
On the other hand, I also believe that one should not react to someone’s criticism. I’m a practicing Muslim—why didn’t I react to Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons? Does that mean I don’t love my Prophet or I’m not sincere about Islam? NO! I believe no matter how much any other person criticize or mock, they cannot ruin Muhammad’s honor and dignity. He was chosen to be the last prophet and the religion and revelation of God is completed in him. So if someone picks Muhammad as a topic of criticism, it’s his mindset and his mindset own problem.
If I respect Jesus and follow Muhammad, I don’t expect the entire world to think the way I think and respect the way I respect. God is the one who gave us free will, so He is the one to give us freedom of expression. Everyone has the right to make an opinion. And this mocking won’t harm my faith and my honor toward Muhammad. It’s how God picked him. No one can cause dishonor because God honored him. We are not the ones to avenge Muhammad because his dignity is NOT going anywhere. He was and is a most noble man ever created.
Where this world is going nowadays: I divide people into three categories now.
Jihadists (it’s the name given by Westerners and not me)
My opinions contain a message for everyone:
To Jihadist: I request you to stop raging and raising swords in the name of religion. Our Prophet didn’t teach us that so I don’t know what Qur’an are you reading and what doctrine of Islam are you applying in your life. Killing innocent children in schools, asking people to accept Islam or die, shooting people for their opinions—that’s NOT Islam. I’m sorry but you really need to revise your studies. I don’t call you Jihadist because in my religion, in my book; it is not how Jihad is described. First, shake your own conscience and talk to your inner demon. See how powerful it has become and how much it has influenced your life. Talk to your demon, face it, kill it—that’s Jihad. Not by killing others will make you Jihadist or guarantee you the Paradise full of enchantresses. Inflicting pain in others is not what Prophet Muhammad taught us. Quran also teaches us to respect other messengers and their religions as much as Islam. They’re all from the same source…one source…one God. You’re breaking Hell for everyone here and God has not authorized you to do that. You don’t need to protect Allah’s religion because He has taken the promise to protect it Himself. Show us the proof if He has signed any contract with you to avenge His and His Prophet’s honor in exchange of a Paradise.
To Muslims: Again…I request you to stop being so enraged and passing remarks on Non-Muslims about being so offensive. If they mock our religion, no need to shout at it. Instead, be an exemplary human being—that’s how Muhammad did. Many people at his time embraced Islam because of his honesty and noble character. You’ve read it all so try to embed it in your life—be a model and an example of your religion for others to admire you—not disgust you. The greatest threat to Islam are not Jews or Christians—its Muslims with radical mindset who are living among us, being part of our world and we feed that beast to let it empower us. Sorry if that offends you but face the truth. Keep in mind that no one can disgrace Muhammad with their cartoons and graphics—so grow up!
And for the rest of the world, the Non-Muslims or the people who see Islam outside of its boundary: I’m not a history person but I don’t know exactly where this Radical Islam came into existence? Really! If you read Islam properly, without passing remarks, you’d see that there is no extremism or killing in Islam. It’s same as your Bible tells you…as Quran says: “We prescribed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, an equal wound for a wound:” but it also says: “if anyone forgoes this out of charity, it will serve as atonement for his bad deeds. Those who do not judge according to what God has revealed are doing grave wrong.”
When we are taking revenge—are we sure if it is eye-for-an-eye, or are we taking the entire head with it? When you try to form an opinion about Islam or Muslim practices, do you have an idea that incidents can occur as a backlash? Mocking Muhammad, hurting people’s belief for NO reason, in the name of “freedom of speech” or for the sake of fun, is not a mature act.
Mocking the idea about teen girls getting married in Islam when you don’t see that your teens get laid and bear an illegitimate child in their wombs…is it that better or if she’d marry a guy and get a baby after that is better? And that illegal, fatherless child grows up to become either a drug addict or a rapist…is that freedom? Ridiculing the practice of burqa that women are being oppressed in Islam—please try to learn and read before creating any opinion. They’re not oppressed. What you see is a cultural defect…not religious bounds.
I’m a proud Muslim, I’m NOT oppressed. My religion gives me the right to practise how I want and how much I want because it has taught me that I will be going in my own grave and will be responsible for my own deeds. No one has the right to drag me to the mosque and pray five times. I’m responsible for myself.
Have you read history, how women in orthodox Christians and Jews were required to dress? Unfold the chapters of History and see how Churches were built in earlier times—men and women prayer areas were segregated. Don’t deride Islamic beliefs for doing the same. Apparently, all Monotheist religions work that way. You’ve not created them so don’t try to ridicule other’s beliefs. If someone is killing in the name of Jihad and Islam, don’t paint everyone with the same brush. Not every Muslim is a terrorist—not every Muslim carries a sword to kill anyone. So stop dishonoring one’s religion giving it a name of freedom because it’s absurd. Freedom of speech is NOT bullying. Again, I apologize if that offends you but let’s face the truth. It’s very easy to laugh at someone’s belief but very hard to look into yourself. Hitler was a Christian who killed brutally—we all know the history but are all Christians killers? Of course not.
Likewise, we Muslims also think that not all Non-Muslims are racists and not all of them are doomed due to drinking and drugs. There are many people; despite being Non-Muslims, who have family values. It wouldn’t be nice to say if we paint the entire world outside of Islam with one brush commenting: In non-Muslim society, they have no moral values. Women get pregnant in their teens—sometimes unaware who the Daddy was. Kids and Young Adults involve in drinking and drugs causing fatality in future childbirth. There are syndromes and diseases that we’ve not heard and your newborns suffer from that due to the sexual encounter with anyone. STD’s are common, psychopaths and serial killers are living on every corner of the street. A boy enters a school and kills many children in your State but he is considered as a disturbed person. If he were a Muslim, wouldn’t he be entitled as a terrorist? Isn’t it hypocrisy? Please try to understand that world is not comprised of fifty two states only. Or it is not only Europe where Humans are living. There are people from all walks of life. If people have been shot in Paris, so the children have been brutally killed in Peshawar Attack and drones from US military in many different countries. People also died in Palestine and Syria as well. Kids are also dying of hunger and poverty in Nigeria too.
It seems like we are all herds of animals with no law over us. Anyone can stand up and take out a sword; anyone can raise the voice and bully the other. We are not thinking about the collateral damage resulting from these revenges.
Our governments are spending millions of dollars on nuclear weapons, ready to kill each other, while people around the globe are dying of exposure or the lack of food and clean water. It’s a shame to all of us!
We all have to live in this world till the Day of Judgement so why not make it a more tolerable and peaceful place to live in? When our house is burned, we don’t curse the fire or reason behind it. We try to either extinguish the fire or save what we can.
Being a Muslim, I condemn all these acts these Jihadists or unknown people are doing in the name of Islam. This is NOT Islam. Islam means peace and Jihad means fighting the demon in you first. Muhammad was dishonored during his time in Mecca and Medina, but he never raised his voice to kill anyone who disgraced him. There was NO blasphemy at that time. The wars happened when both parties were involved (with mutual consent) and no one was killed out of war. Else, Muhammad always stayed on this Quranic verse: “To you be your religion, and to me my religion”. And I think we should all follow this verse, whether Muslim, Christian, Jew or any other faith. In other words, it means: Mind your own business
Remember, there’s a very fine line between an opinion and bullying. What is your freedom of speech?