Syria – The Other Side Of The Civil War

The Za’atari refugee camp, which opened last July on the Jordan-Syria border has an estimated 140,000 Syrians living there now according to the Jordanian government. Here’s a brief look inside the camp from Merci Corps;

The front gate to Za’atari. Syrians are not allowed to leave the camp, unless a Jordanian “sponsors” them and can pay the fee for their release.

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The registration area for new arrivals. Za’atari is run jointly by the Jordanian Government and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Refugees cross the border at night, under the cover of darkness. The Jordanian army receives them at the border and the IOM busses them to nearby Za’atari where they are registered, receive ration cards and medical attention if needed.

jordan-201302-lhoashi-0204Running this camp is a daily logistical feat. For the last month, the camp has received between 2,000-3,000 refugees each day. If there are an average of five people in a family, that can mean supplying and setting up as many as 600 tents daily.

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A mother settles into a semblance of a daily routine as she washes dishes after a meal. Families in Za’atari receive tents, mattresses, blankets, cooking pans and utensils, food and water.

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Following custom, shoes are removed at the entrance of a family’s tent.

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A makeshift kitchen in the back of one family’s tent. A dishwashing area, a place to make tea, a trash bag.

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Living in such close quarters, families take pains to keep their space tidy and orderly. Mattresses and blankets are stacked off to the side during the day, clothes bundled into bags.

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Za’atari’s “Main Street.” Entrepreneurs, like anywhere else in the world, have sprouted up throughout the camp. People sell all manner of goods including fruits and vegetables, nuts, mobile phones and shoes.

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Mercy Corps has constructed a water supply system at Za’atari that consists of two deep wells, a pump station and chlorination system that will support up to 65,500 refugees. The remaining water supply will continue to be trucked in.

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School is offered to children in Za’atari, but they still have a lot of free time. Mercy Corps, in partnership with UNICEF, has constructed and is operating five playgrounds and multipurpose sports courts in the camp.

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Mercy Corps and UNICEF have set up a “cinema tent” in Za’atari camp, where kid-friendly movies are shown daily.

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Shahed

All photos by:  Photo: Lisa Hoashi/Mercy Corps

Mosquee de Paris: Was A Secret Refuge & Escape Passage For Algerian and European Jews During WWII

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The Grande Mosquée de Paris, which is also known as The Paris Mosque or The Great Mosque of Paris is one of the largest mosques in France. The mosque was erected in 1926 as a token of gratitude and memorial for some 100,000 Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France against Germany during the France’s colonial empire.

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The mosque that was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue on 15 July 1926 and built following the mudéjar style, with 33 meters minaret height.  The first ever communal prayer that inaugurated the newly built mosque was led by Ahmed al-Alawi (1869-1934) in the presence of the French president. He was an Algerian Sufi, founder of the modern Sufi order Darqawiyya Alawiyya, a branch of the Shadhiliyya whose original founder is a Moroccan Sufi.

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During World War II (when France and Paris were occupied by Nazi Germany), the rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit managed the mosque to serve as a secret refuge for Algerian and European Jews. He ensured they were provided shelter, safe passage, and fake Muslim birth certificates to protect them from German persecution.

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Initially sponsored by the king of Morocco, the mosque was assigned to Algeria in 1957 by the French Foreign Minister. This same mosque have been subjected to heavy Islamophobic assaults, and in the wake of the recent shootings in Paris, grenade was thrown into the mosque, it was firebombed and pig heads were also found in the mosque compound.

For all you know, there were soldiers who defended the country a very long time ago, not 10 or 15, but some 100, 000 Muslim soldiers for whom this mosque was erected for. Perhaps a knock on the head will wake some people up, it’s not about religion, it’s all about moral values, attacking this mosque is just as same as attacking those who once fought for France, the same mother land of current residents.

This mosque was also the venue of women activist group, Femen known for their topless demonstration during the time of Amina Tyler who was arrested in Tunisia after she posted her nude photo online, stirring tension among the Muslim society in Tunisia.

Attacker Claimed To be The Victim’s God Before Stabbing Him 17 Times To Death

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‘I am your God, I am your Islam’ shouted the 28-year-old man who forced himself into the house of a Moroccan man on Wednesday at around 1:30 in the morning at Southern France before stabbing Mohamed El Makouli 17 times to death, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia said. In what has been classified as one of the most horrific Islamophobic attacks in France amidst the rising Islamophobia, the father of 1, 47, was murdered in his home by his neighbour in the Beaucet village, near Avignon, while his wife Nadia tried to save him. She sustained wounds to her hand before she fled the scene with their daughter to call the police.

Abdallah Zekri, the Observatory president stated that the victim’s partner was clear about what the attacker had shouted prior to stabbing her husband to death but the police has not confirmed any links to Islamophobia and stated that the claims will be investigated when they start questioning the attacker. The man was charged on Thursday with murder, attempted murder, and possession of drugs before he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The man apparently has been diagnosed with schizophrenia since he said he was hearing voices and was found in a demented state.

The Central Council of Muslims in France said that the attack is one of at least 50 Islamophobic incidents reported in France so far in the wake of the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo’s office and France’s Kosher market also adding that there may also be incidents that might have gone unreported.

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Meanwhile in Germany, a Muslim man who was reported to have left his house on Monday morning to work did not return before his body was found on the street in the early hours. 20-year-old Khaled Idris Bahray was stabbed to death in Dresden, Germany on Tuesday and his murder is feared to have connections to the anti-Islamification marches held in Germany. This will be among the 80 incidents connected to the rising Islamophobic attacks in Germany that has been reported so far not inclusive of the ones that has gone unreported.

Top 10 Richest Countries In 2014

1. Qatar

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Qatar tops the list of the top 10 richest countries in the world due to its high GDP per capita of $91,379, which is just $8,621 shy of $100,000.

2. Luxembourg

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At number two would be Luxembourg, which has a per capita GDP of $89,862, that is nine times the world average.

3. UAE

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UAE’s $57,744 per capita economy comes from oil revenues, while the service sector and telecommunications also contribute significantly.

4. Norway

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The country’s per capita GDP of $56,920 allows its 4.97 million people to reap the benefits of a small yet robust economy.

5. Singapore

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Singapore has a per capita income of $56,797, which is five times the average per capita income for an ordinary individual in the world.

6. USA

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The United States, maintains a per capita GDP of $47,084, despite of a population of over 310 million people.

7. Switzerland

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Switzerland’s GDP per citizen is $46,424. Swiss banking and financial institutions keep this country and its economy afloat.

8. Netherlands

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Netherlands has 16.8 million people, and a per capita GDP of $42,447.

9. Ireland

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The Emerald Isle has a per capita income of about $39,999 with a population of about 4.8 million people.

10. Austria

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Austria has a population of about 8.5 million people with a healthy per capita income of $39,711.

Je Suis Liberté: The No-Go Zones Of Free Speech

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Je Suis Charlie – A plague that has caught a worldwide cult, and has become the very banner and testament of freedom, Je Suis Charlie after all is the very essence of the march against oppression and terrorism, to defend the rights of speech and self expression, in the name of freedom, is to be free. Following the events of Wednesday, 7 January 2015, the world has been awakened to the brutal killings of the 11 staff members of the French satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, during their first editorial meeting for the year 2015 by two ‘Islamist’ gunmen whose motives were believed to be driven by the controversial and insulting caricatures of the Muslim Prophet, who is also the founder of Islam, an extremely sacred figure in the Muslim community worldwide.

Amidst the rising Islamophobia in the Western countries, there is a march in Paris, march of the millions, reported to have been attended by at least 3 million people, and contrary to the claims made by certain headlines claiming it to be the biggest March in the history of France, it is in fact, not true. The biggest if not one left a lasting effect on the country was the civil unrest, which was the results of the events of ‘May 68’, initially started by a series of student protest against capitalism and went on to develop 11, 000, 000 stronghold to become the largest ever general strike ever attempted in France. At the height of its onset, the protest virtually brought the entire capitalist economy of France to a dramatic half and to this very day is remembered as the turning point of social, cultural and moral in the history of France.

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Picture perfect – in front of the contradicting reports of 1.3 or 3 million strong supporters of freedom, are the renowned world leaders, who obviously from their presence at the rally would testify to their own policies which must be practising the same kind of liberty. So there should not be anything wrong with this image, and that’s the whole problem, not all of them carries a resume that will validate the principles of freedom. In fact, some are far removed from the actual reality in terms of formal equality of rights and privileges. Some faces here, has failed to fit the profile of the freedom they were there to preach.

Some of them has previously sentenced journalist to prison, some has denied their freedoms, some fresh of last week’s headlines – a blogger in distress who at the time of this march was still one of the highlights that was still trending in major news outlets and social media networks. But drawing a line between preach and practice, here they are, showing their support, for a cause they themselves has failed to practise. When back at where they belong, freedom has been screaming for attention for as long as anyone can remember, but without any success. 

More than 50 leaders attended this March, and the example of the twisted policies being practised in their own countries finally came to light when keyboard warriors took it to twitter to criticise those with contradicting backgrounds. Moved by the striking images of these politicians who had their head downs in despair at one moment and held up in pride in another, some left no stone unturned when they exposed the names and the freedom that has been deprived at their own doings.

But before that, just 4 days before the march ‘Je Suis Charlie’ on 11 January 2015, this happened:

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Veteran CNN anchor, Jim Clancy stepped down on Friday, 17 January following a series of tweets discussing about the Charlie Hebdo Massacre on 7 January in which he is said to have mocked pro-Israeli tweeters. Below is a rough draft of what has been accounted as mocking, the tweet started of with:

“The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.”

Which ended with, “You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple at the edge of the herd.” The word ‘cripple’ was found to be insulting, but by an entire different person, Jay Rudderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation who demanded an apology from both anchor and the news company, for the insensitive use of the word cripple in his argument.

The use of the word was considered insulting, when it was merely an expression, a sample of resignation, delivered through the usage of an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, like killing a mockingbird does not mean you literally killed the bird. It’s a turn of expression.  So at a time when everyone is pretty much caught in the act of defending the value of freedom, CNN’s veteran, Jim Clancy lost his job because of a very similar reason.

But before all this, doesn’t this seems to be a little bias, since it is also some type of freedom that the media is so fond of promoting, the only difference is that, this is the freedom of making your own conclusion during a live telecast:

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Here’s another CNN journalist, as you can see, Mary Schiavo, is an aviation analysts of the network, meaning the expert. Aviation is a completely different world, too many details, too many abbreviation, extremely hard to understand on how things work, so viewers discretion is based on whatever they are being told, and Miss Schiavo said this;

“At this point, given it was extremely bad weather, the chances of this being some sort of terrorist activity are very small because most terrorist activities take place in good weather,”

So now that we know that terrorists only attack during good weather, we can finally breath signs of relief. 28 December 2014, was the 3rd air traffic disaster for Malaysian based airlines, following the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 and MH 17, which was shot down at the borders of Ukraine. So now that we know that MH370 dropped off the radar during clear weather conditions, we might as well conclude that it was indeed the work of terrorists.

The lapse of judgement was the result of Mary Schiavo was on double duty since the incident happened after or around the time she was supposed to be finishing her job for the day so it was justified. Jim Clancy could have been experiencing the same thing, but his lapse of judgement caused him the last 34 years he spent on the network. He offended someone he shouldn’t have, but how would he know who will be offended?

What is freedom when speeches are justified for some, classified for others. Where is the line that we are not suppose to cross, but why is there a line when there’s freedom? These are the highlights of the troubling double standards underpinning the Je Suis Charlie’s march in Paris that millions took part in.

Je Suis Charlie March In Paris

Twitter users exercised the force of that freedom and here’s just a few of the tweets that was dedicated to some of the staunch leaders of freedom and justice who appeared during the solidarity march in Paris.

1) King Abdullah of Jordan, which last year sentenced a Palestinian journalist to 15 years in prison with hard labour

2) Prime Minister of Davutoglu of Turkey, which imprisons more journalists than any other countries in the world

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An interesting charade of an interesting parade. What millions took part in hardly lasted for 12 hours and France already faced its first challenge following the controversial arrest of a French comedian, Dieudonné, after he exercised what he thought was free speech on his Facebook account, which has since been deleted with the below remarks:

“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,”

This was taken out of context and labeled as hate speech. So where exactly is the line between the two? Why is there even a line when freedom of speech is the basic rights of all human? A high ranking French politician found the status update to contemptible perhaps due to the fact that the comedian expressed his feeling similar to the gunman who took over the Paris Kosher market – Amédy Coulibaly. He was presumably showing sympathy towards the terrorist.

A couple of Facebook posts from users who reacted towards the arrest, is something worth paying attention to. They are just merely sharing their thoughts and opinions about the matter, in a state of mixed emotions, some retreated in fear, and deleted their post perhaps thinking that they would end up being arrested too just for having an opinion.

One user said,

‘I know exactly what this guy is talking about and how he has been misunderstood.

I have been there when i used to say i feel like Ousama ben Laden. Just because a reference was made to the terrorist that doesn’t mean that he intent to become like him. If he did, he would not have made his intentions public therefore this is just another excuse to the abuse of power. Please understand that expression travels in many form, and sometimes reference are made when your feelings become to difficult to express. I feel like the ******* because even when i’m not, even if i hate him as much as the rest of the world, the way i am being treated sometimes does feel like i am just like another Usama on the street. In the larger scale of society with similar stereotype thinking, you are standing alone, just because you do not share their sentiments and even if you do, your skin colour, your appearance betrays you. No matter how nice i am, or how pure my heart is, i will always be a bane to the society. But it is good to know your place in the society, so you will know better how to carry yourself, and that is to keep your opinion to yourself, I have my freedom, freedom to remain silent.

The feeling of alienation is truly gripping, it’s not about who he is as a human, but what he is, and what he is, is just another profile. Replies were equally emotional but that’s because the ones who were replying knew him for who he is and not for what he looks like. One of his friends advise him to remove the post, in fear of him being arrested and what initially comes across as funny does in fact has another side to it, and that’s reality – he deleted the post about an hour later.

One last post update that really challenge the view and opinion:

‘In respect of freedom of speech, where does this march of the millions truly stands? For the freedom of one or for the freedom of the millions who marched for it? Clearly there is a void in the system, when just a few hours earlier you were marching for your freedom and a few hours later, you were arrested for the same freedom you marched for – it’s perhaps the time to really starting looking into all this through a different perspective”

These are just some of the opinions that will never make it to major corporate medias. Of course they won’t, they are just personal opinions of the general public, but it captures a very different side of the reality. This was suppose to be a form of united protest against terrorism, to broadcast a message that has taken a global effect and bagged the sympathy of masses. And even when not everyone is in the same shoes when it comes to Charlie Hebdo’s way of exploiting humour by attacking religious figure which in the past has been the subject of protest, law suits, and stress among the Muslim society, everyone seems to be in the same boat when it comes to the killings of innocents.

But at the end of the day, when things like this continues to happen, then even the ones who were burning with passion would see the fire settling down quicker than they could have imagined,

Tim Wilcox Of BCC 

During the ‘free speech’ demonstrations, BBC’s Tim Wilcox was conducting a cross speech interview between him, a Jewish woman of Israeli birth and a French-Algerian man, focusing on issues effecting both the Jew and Muslim community in France. The active demo in the back drop of the interview setting was enough to render anyone speechless when the frontline journalist would later suffer harsh criticism and being anti-semitic, insensitive and highly offensive for his wrong choice of cross speech argument. He was criticised following his obviously unintentional remark when he reply to the Jewish woman;

“Many critics though of Israel’s policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well”.

From http://www.globalresearch.ca, it is stated that, critics immediately lashed-out at Wilcox and the BBC, claiming that in no way can 65 years of suffering endured by the Palestinian people, or this past summer’s slaughter of 2,200 civilians in Gaza by Israel’s IDF army – be mentioned in the same sentence (even indirectly, as Wilcox did), or even casually equated with the suffering of Jews in Europe with the Holocaust, under the German Nazi regime.

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A new standard has been set for free speech when he was forced to apologise for making such reference, as per the critics claims that the number of casualties holds a great significance when comparison is being made. Any crime against humanity should be viewed seriously regardless of the number of casualties, or the amount of suffering they went through. Everything is being misunderstood at the wake of the most recent disaster, and in terms of this, it can also be viewed as justifying one due to the greatness of the other.

‘It was purely unintentional,’ Tim Wilcox will later say as he apologised for his remark and admitted that it was poorly-phrased, but it seems that Morning Joe host, Joe Scarborough is not going to let this go easily, since he has demanded that Wilcox be fired for his remarks. In one of his comments he stated:

“I cannot believe the BBC is going to allow this man to stay on the BBC, the fact that the BBC has a correspondent as insensitive and cold to the realities… this did not happen 300 years ago. This happened 60, 65 years ago, while Europe sat by and did nothing. They let six million Jews be exterminated.”

Understood, but Wilcox should not pay the price of the fragment ‘Europe sat by and did nothing’ coz no one did anything and that’s why such horror happened. He was not there, but he was covering (or perhaps not) the widely covered 2014 conflicts between the Israel and Palestine, which is more recent and perhaps out of his own experience witnessing the whole tragedy, it was a fresher perspective in his mind. That doesn’t mean he was cold or insensitive.

So due to that it should be viewed as an unintentional poorly phrased statement/question since it was not a conclusive argument. It was a suggestion. He has since publicly apologised and acknowledge his mistake, but for Joe, he is still not satisfied and the crime is really unforgivable. So where is free speech here, when your defending argument is protected by the law, you can’t even suggest something that really happened, less than a year, because no matter how professionally or carefully you use it, you always be classified as anti-semitic even if you are not? Where is the sense in that?

Since it is suggested, it can also be denied.

Taken from the working definition of antisemitism – However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/

So let’s take another example: this is not anti-semitic?

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Somehow Mr. Joe forgot about this, things back home are not much different if not worst. 11 million people died during the holocaust, 6 million of which were the Jews as it is apparent from Mr. Joe’s statement itself. This poster raises questions to what is the motive behind exploiting Hitler’s image and Haj Amin Al-Husseini, former president of the Supreme Muslim Council of Palestine, who died in exile after he was stripped of all of his titles shortly after the war? He is being named as the Leader of the Islamic World, which he never was. But that is besides the fact, the Hitler’s image here is anti-semitic since he is held accountable for the WWII but somehow can be justified since it’s an anti-Islam poster, and Hitler is there to what?

Remind people of his extreme brutality during the war which led to the death of the 6 million Jews or to show that he was a friend of the Turkey-born, former, 60-65 years ago Palestine leader? What a self-centred marketing strategy and if not what else? The image is pulled into an active Islamic-Jew campaign but this man is not only responsible of the death of 6 million Jews alone, but another 5 millions who were not Jews, who might also feel affected by this image.

The fact that the Middle-East was not even involve in the war, and through the conclusive proof of Germany’s rage against the Arab countries for not wanting to participate in the act of brutality, also taking into account of Ottoman empire’s absolute dissolution, following WW1, this is a clear indication that this campaign has interest flaws. ‘You lost me at – end all aid to Muslim countries’, by forgetting a very important fact, that there are non-Muslims staying at Muslim countries, who are the expats, like the Vegas of the east, Dubai, like Cairo and so much more. How is the aid being defined in this context when The Persian Gulf emirate of 1.7 million people ranks as the world’s richest country per capita thanks to a rebound in oil prices and its massive natural gas reserves. This poster was from 2014, and Forbes top 10 Richest countries in the world will proof that Qatar is at the top of the list, with UAE at number 3 and USA at number 6. So therefore All Muslim countries aid, will debunk the whole theory.

With that, here’s a self-explanatory image from an activist’s FB account, a stunning end to the results of the march that took place in Paris, and with that, i am not Jeu Suis Charlie, but Je Suis Liberté

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Charlie Hebdo: Why Should The Muslims Apologies?

nateisokmoThe gunmen who entered the Charlie Hebdo’s office on the morning of 7 January 2015 does not represent Islam. Right up till of the attack, we have never heard of them, we never knew about their existence, about their upbringing, about their their activities, the method in which their faith is practised, if they were Muslims by their birth right or just Muslims by name, because to be a Muslim one does not necessarily have to be born as one, that course unfortunately is not of our own choice, therefore, the path we follow could be anything but the faith of Islam because these men could be anything but Islam for Islam does not validate their solo action for the benefits of the majority.

So why should the rest of the Muslim community apologies on behalf of these lunatics who obviously can’t tell the right from wrong? Why should we apologies for the actions of those who we know not, who we support not, and just like you, the rest of the world, we fully condemned?

We stand with you, but we will not apologies for something we ourselves believe should not be forgiven because Islam does not condone to such actions, in which innocent lives are taken, and laid to waste.

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The gunmen who entered the Charlie Hebdo’s premises on the morning of 7 January 2015 does not represent Islam. It was not until their actions were broadcasted worldwide that we came to know of their existence. Right till the shooting took place in Paris, we knew not about their devious intentions, we were never a part of their barbaric plans, we are not part of this culture where human’s lives are are brutality ended in the name of revenge like the angel of death who was never summoned by playing God and assuming the role of the divine. We do not have such power, killing is not our culture.

Why should we apologies for men who believed that the retribution for the humiliation placed upon the Prophet should be done through bloodbath? We do not stand by their barbaric actions so we shall not apologise for what cannot be forgiven. If we had the slightest idea of what was about to unfold, we would have stood in front of that office, we would have made a human wall, we would have done what we can and everything we could not only because we are Muslims and our religion condemns killing but because as humans with moral values,  we, just like you, just like the rest of the world who grieves this lost, feels your pain and condemn their actions.

We do not support these kind of brutality which reflects badly upon us, upon the prophet himself and upon the Muslim community, not only in France, but the world united. But we, just like you, were not aware of what bad tidings the day would bring, and such event were meant to unfold. Helpless just like you, just like the rest of the world, we too could only watch, pray for them to be caught, pray for the loved ones be granted strength to endure through these difficult times, and suffer in silent for we are truly aware the actions of these self-centred lunatics has not only claimed the lives of 20 innocents and injured 12 but has also left the rest of the Muslim world to the stereotype that we should be held into account for what they did, becomes an easy target for what you condemn and yet react in the same manner to those with the same faith as the killers. A deed done without our consent, without our knowledge, without our approval, that even God denounce but unfortunately, here we are, not the victims of prejudice, never the friends of the unknown culprits, just unfortunate that they too assumed what we call the fabrication of our faith, did something that should have not been done just so they can ensure that we suffer the wrath of their transgression and the price of their atrocity.

Why should we apologies for the actions of these bigots? How would it help the world if we do? How can you expect us to apologise for such evil behaviour, to apologies on their behalf is to defend their actions, and what good does it do for the rest of us? To admit, they’ve made a mistake and we offer an apology on behalf. Not only have we been condemned to be born to the faith, not only have we been slandered for the things we never did, not only have been forced to swallow the insults of the wrongdoings of these killers who has clearly deviated from the teachings of Islam and now we are being asked to apologies for them? Where’s the sense in that?

Will an apology change your views towards us? Will an apology help you agree for truce? Will an apology make you believe that we had nothing to do with the killings, will an apology make you forgive us for being Muslims? Will an apology change anything at all? What would an apology change? The ones who are dead can never be revived, their memories will live and the cubicle of history, it is not the names of these individual’s let alone their identities that will be mentioned every time the issue of Charlie Hebdo comes up, it would be the religion, the faith and the fact that they shouted ‘God is great’ so it has been decided that it was the religion and all of its believers who conspired the tragedy. For all we know, it will not change anything, because even if we stand with those who insulted our Prophet and called it satire, even if we pray so that their souls will rest in peace, and even if stand united in a vigil, we will forever be that outlaws who unfortunately shares the same faith with the killers. So what would it change?

Why should we apologies for those who are not sorry for what they did? Who avenged without the consent of the Muslim community as a whole, and who undertook a responsibility of avenging the prophet upon themselves when none of us have ever asked them to, so why should we apologies for this extremists? We will not apologies for they need to be punished and pay the price of their actions, and that is the only thing we will support.

The men who walked into the Charlie Hebdo office on the morning of 7 January 2015 does not represent Islam. The prophet did not summoned them, God did not summoned them, we did not ask for their help to go and avenged our prophet, Charlie Hebdo has been insulting the prophet since 2011, drew the prophet naked in 2012, and they have been doing this ever-since amidst the many cautions, requests, and protests that has time and time again turned violent increasing the number of fatalities who died requesting for them to spare the prophet.

“We have to carry on until Islam has been rendered as banal as Catholicism”  Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier

We have lived through this provocation just like how the prophet did during his time, where he was constantly insulted, defamed, slandered, cursed, and so much more. His years were much tougher than one could even hope to imagine, his life the same, for it was always on stake, with endless assassinations attempts was carried out on him without success. He knew well the names of those who were out to kill him, but not a single time did the prophet asked his followers who were always ready to be put to the sword so that his life could be spared to go out and avenged him, avenged those with intentions to kill him, finish them before their purpose was achieved. Instead he prayed for their heart to be soften, so they would change their minds and ditch their intentions of murdering him as to what happened with Umar who was on his was to assassinate the prophet but was diverted from his path.

Another popular narration would be of Abu Jahl who never stopped in making the prophet’s life miserable, in ways that you can never imagine. One of the most popular narrations of Abu Jahl’s idea of insults towards the prophet was at the time when the prophet was praying, and Abu Jahl who was sitting with his companions when he asked for camel’s entrails (bowels) to be brought to him and upon the arrival of the internal organs, he commanded the most unfortunate one of his companions to place the entrails on the prophet when he prostrates. The man did as he was bid and the moment the prophet knelt in his prayer, the man placed the internal organ on his back in between his shoulders. This amused Abu Jahl and his companions greatly as they burst into hysterical laughter and falling on one another.

The amount of abdominal and repugnant things done by Abu Jahl towards the prophet can never matched the amount of caricatures made to insult the prophet or the amount of cheap films made to demoralise him, for he had gone through times much worst than this, through insults heavier than caricatures made to defy him, or cheap films made to demoralise him. The Islam that we follow, has never commanded its followers to avenged the apostle, the Islam that we follow does not teach us to murder those who defy or humiliate us, Islam does not allow taking the lives of innocents, Islam denounce those who kills women and children, and there is no enforcement in Islam. It has not been written anywhere in the book that kill those who refuse to convert, men, women or child, finish them for if they do not embrace the religion, they do not deserve to live.

Where in the name of heaven, is it written in the holy book, kill those who refuse to convert to Islam? Or kill those who humiliate the prophet? Which chapter, which verse? There’s none, because the true teaching of Islam does not preach what was done by the Charlie Hebdo.

So, should we apologies because they were born Muslim or should we apologies on their behalf just because they do not know what is the truth about Islam? Which one is our fault so we could take time to reflect upon our wrongdoings because truly, there’s not much left to do is there when it is so easy to group, label according to religion and deport so it can be judge by the stereotypes who agrees that one person’s action has redefined everything about the religion, one person kills and instead of trying to rationalise and understand the bigger picture it is much easier to turn the whole thing into and idea that every Muslim is a killer, and to what end would this fashion account for those who has not yet killed but has been labelled murderers, those who has not stolen but has been labelled as thieves? There’s no end to it and no apology would change the fact that we will always be viewed as some sort of social pariahs, who has no right to defend ourselves when we are provoked, and if, God forbid just if we point a finger at anyone, we become terrorists.

So, why should we apologies for the killers who has no notion of the religion, who acted against the teachings and avenged the prophet in a way that even he would not approve? Why should we apologise for the killers who are Islam by birth right but practised values that has far strayed from the actual teachings? So which part of them is Islam? The name? The religion in their ID? Or the understanding we have based on witness account that they shouted the Arabic phrase ‘God is great’ and yet declared their achievements ‘the prophet has been avenged’ in French?

On 7 January 2015, exactly a week after the curtain was raised in welcoming a brand new year, another blood bath marked the empty pages of history, in the name of Islam when 2 ‘Islamist’ gunmen opened fire at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo killing 12 and wounding 11. It has been labelled as a terrorist attack, of course the gun men uttered in French that they have avenged the prophet, so there is no doubt the motive is related to the controversial publication insulting the prophet first published in 2011 to mock both the Syaria Law and the prophet, and then again in 2012, this time taking things to another level with naked images of what they portray as the prophet. In fact, the prophet has been a regular feature of the French satirical newspaper, and they stand to defend their freedom of speech and self-expression. Doesn’t matter who they hurt in the process with the outrages satire, it is not wrong, because we Muslims have no feelings whatsoever and should just accept the mockery, because perhaps we have no right to retaliate since the freedom of speech does not apply on us.

11 September 2012, a series of protest was carried out in front of the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt in response to the YouTube trailer, for the low budget film called the ‘Innocence of Islam’ which portrayed the prophet as a buffoon and a womaniser. Sensitivity issue was totally ignored here, but that is ok because it is freedom of speech and self-expression, a degrading caricature of the prophet is self-expression, stripping him naked should also be viewed as part of satire because when it comes to Islam, there is no limit to what end you can use the power of your freedom and you can choose whatever way you wish to express yourself even if it wrong, self expression allows it. But when the Muslim community asked for the magazine to take into account about their feelings and the role of the prophet in the religion, they were told to apply self-censorship, how classic. This propagated a protest that quickly spread to major Muslim countries and later to the Western counterparts but did anyone cared to asked about the death toll that resulted from this protest? It was 50 over fatalities with 695 people injured. But why would anyone care about that? Because they were not ‘Yu Suis Charlie’.

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Despite of the widespread protest that spread to about 18 countries including the West, which propagated diplomatic mission following the 2012 Bengazi attack, when strong emotions has been provoked in major Muslim countries that later forced The United States to immediately increase security worldwide at diplomatic and military facilities, Charlie Hebd who obviously were within the knowledge of how severe the situation was and the risk on civilians life were at all time high, disregarded the issue and took advantage of the situation by publishing nude caricatures of the prophet. Having the privilege of exercise your rights to self express could not longer be questioned but how about ignoring the sense of time? When the very action at that precise moment could have further fuelled the already growing outrage and at what cost if not the lives of the civilian being placed at greater risk. It’s simple understanding of actions and reactions that failed to qualify in the terms of common sense because there was no better time to put oil on the fire, despite of the repercussion or even considering the consequences of their actions could actually place the public at greater harm.

jay

A cliche of assertion, with the statement above, the only understanding that the word ‘questioned the actions’ is that whatever that was done was indeed wrong, freedom of speech or not, self expression or not, it does not take religion to tell you that killing is wrong, hurting people is wrong, insulting is wrong and respect the way you want to be respected. No one is born knowing their religion, at 6 months old, you did not know what your religion was, and it would be the years ahead of you that will either lead you to find your faith or turn your back against it. At 4-years-old, you know your religion but only by name and not the essence. Believers of each faith, the children starts with observing, Sunday mass, Friday prayers, and so on, but at 4-years-old, while still oblivious to the need and demands of your religion, you would already know that killing is wrong, stealing is wrong and to make others cry is wrong. And that alone shows, that every human would first start with moral value before they can fully understand the essence of their faith.

Today Muslims are being asked to apologise for the action of the killers of the Charlie Hebdo attack, just because they were Muslims so we are somehow responsible for what they did. But lets not forget, that they were human (or rather inhuman) first before they were Muslim, so with that the question can no longer be classified under a single context of religion because as Islam, guidance applies, and if they were under the guidance of Islam, they would have not committed such a heinous crime. Which will lead us to questioning them as human being, outside the context of religion where basic moral value applies, and surely they did not have that too, and who should apologies for that? In the absence of religion, there’s morality, if the Muslim community is expected to bare the responsibility of a crime committed under the name of religion, who claims the responsibility for the lack of human values when religion is lost?

Why should we should we apologise?

Why should be say sorry for those who has no regards for human lives?

The victims of Charlie Hebdo did not murder anyone. The only thing they did was exercise their freedom and self expression and even if is wrong to the eyes of those who are hurt by their actions, no one has died because of it.

Why should the Muslim community feel threatened over a few caricatures of the prophet? Not a single person alive today knows how the prophet looks like, what we know is very little and the little we know does not aid us in completing his form, not in real life, not in our imaginations, not in our dreams, let alone the caricatures made to depict him. Just because they think they knew how he looked like, drew something to resembles him and tagged him with his name, does that makes him the prophet? It sure doesn’t so why take offend in something we all know is not him, because those who knows the struggles he went through, have faith in what he has left behind for his followers, would know that the humiliation is trivial and does not deserve attention or reaction. For attribution is in the hands of God and God alone.

What is clear from this tragedy is that the act of labelling and classifying will not change at the hand of apology because you and i both know, our apologies for those who does not feel sorry would go down in vain. We have been labelled and seen as savages roaming the earth, the ones that could easily be used as scapegoats, framed and punished for things we were never a part of. When the trend has been established, it tends to stick. We will continue to be victimised by the closed minded, because our right to defend ourselves is not recognised and will always be labelled as terrorism.

In the end of the day, it’s such a travesty that now anyone can commit a crime under the disguise of Islam, fit into a criteria of reciting the arabic versus of God is great after or while committing the crime,  keep a DIY flag with arabic wording handy just in case no one captures you on camera, you can always leave the flag behind to act a clue that a Muslim was here, and ensure that a beard is a bonus, a turban means you nailed it, always hold your guns up because a trained extremist could be identified through the amount of accessories mounted on the device and ID’s are really overrated cliches that even blockbuster movies doesn’t use anymore, all you need is Allahu Akhbar, and it does not matter if you are Muslim or not, as long as you know the words, you have been classified.