Pagan News and Views Since 1998
I am deeply shocked by the recent violence in Paris centered on the despicable murder of the staff of the Charlie Hebdo magazine by radical Islamists. On behalf of the Correllian Tradition I extend heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of this outrage. On behalf of the Correllian Tradition I specifically denounce the murderers and the organizations backing them, and call for them to be brought to justice.
There can be no excuse for this horrific act, supposedly undertaken in retaliation for the magazine's criticism of radical Islam. No words or images, no matter how offensive, are ever offensive enough to justify murder. No religion ever has a right to slaughter people simply for questioning, criticizing, opposing, or lampooning it. Indeed, the act of murder rather seems to justify any criticism that the victim may have expressed.
Even as we continue to pray for peace, it seems that the world continues to spiral into madness. What can we do? Keep praying.
But prayer is not enough -we must also work for peace.
And it is important that we remember that peace is not just the absence of violence, but a world in which people can live free of fear and oppression. Peace without justice is not peace at all -it is merely submission. Submission is not enough. Submission is not acceptable. We must have peace. We must have justice. We cannot have one without the other.
I was raised to believe that there are good people and bad people in all religions. One reason that enormities such as this vile murder spree can happen is that all too often the good people keep silent when the bad people do terrible things. Sometimes the good people keep silent out of fear. Often they keep silent out of apathy. Sometimes they keep silent because they simply cannot believe that their own people would do such things. But no matter the reason, when good people keep silent it encourages bad people to become worse.
In the case of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, we should all expect Muslim leaders to express condemnation of this frightful act. And, in fact, many Muslim leaders have been doing exactly that. To quote a few:
Dr. Tariq Ramadan said “...it is not the Prophet who was avenged, it is our religion, our values and Islamic principles that have been betrayed and tainted. My condemnation is absolute and my anger is profound...”
Condemning the criminals, Dr. Khaled Hanafy said “Indeed, condemnation is not sufficient. Muslims, before anybody else, should take swift and practical action because the danger threatening Europe is a threat for Muslims too. Muslims are part and parcel of the European society; they have a role to play in protecting it and in promoting social peace in it.”
The fact that Muslim religious leaders are condemning this act of terror, despite the fact that they must themselves fear reprisals from Islamist extremists, is in my opinion a very hopeful sign for the future -even if only a small hope amid much anguish. I commend all Muslim leaders who have the courage to publicly condemn this horrible slaughter.
If all religious leaders would speak out against injustice then it is just possible that there might one day be less injustice. We should all make it our business to speak out against extremism and violence. Perhaps this is a subject that we can all discuss together at the Parliament of the World's Religions next October.
No one should have to live in fear simply because of who they are, because of what they believe, or because others may be offended by their opinions. Violence is not an answer, and violence must not be turned a blind eye to. We get the world we build -and a world where people are being shot in the streets is surely not the world any of us want. Oppose violence – stand for peace!
Blessings to all,