Image courtesy Carlos Latuff
One upon a time there was a man called Salman Rushdie. He wrote a book, which wasn’t particularly special, but stood out because it challenged a few beliefs. Most people failed to notice said book before Pakistanis, and Muslims the world over, decided that it was hurting their sentiments. And hurting their sentiments so much that it warranted all manners of carnage, chaos and violence.
What followed after wasn’t particularly surprising. As Rushdie sank into the darkness to hide from religiously charged zombies that were out for his blood, his book rose both in popularity and rank. A book that had received but a blip of recognition before skyrocketed into the limelight. That was then and Charlie Hebdo is now.
The Jamat-e- Islami (JI), with Sirajul Haq at the helm, is trying its level best to make Charlie Hebdo happen. Long after global outrage over the horrific murders is finally simmering down and people are beginning to find new controversies to keep themselves busy with, the JI is starting a fresh wave of protests. These protests did not come right after the brutal killings that left 12 dead and they did not come as world leaders marched forward in support of Charlie Hebdo.
The outrage seemed to have been contained, pregnant with a catatonic depression, and has exploded out into the country now. The world has moved on, but the JI must make Charlie Hebdo hip again. What’s interesting is that before the appalling and illogical January 7 murders, Charlie Hebdo was about to die.
Quite literally, if Muslims around the world had simply ignored the magazines existence it would have gone out of business entirely. Sales weren’t high enough to cover any of the expenses, the official website was even asking readers for help, “Charlie est en danger!” the homepage screamed. Half of their production wasn’t being sold, even at a meagre $3.50 a piece.
But the shooting changed all that. It left most of the creative geniuses dead, and helped a whole bunch of Muslims temporarily inflate their egos. “Look at how dead those cartoonists are! That’s what you get for messing with us!” they roared with happiness. But all the murders did was wake up the world to more things that can tick the Muslim world off. The satirical weekly was about to die a financial death, and now it’s being printed in 16 languages and being shipped off to 25 different countries. It’s gone from selling only half of its 60,000 copies to over 7 million.
Had Muslims scoffed, rolled their eyes, and turned their cheek to Charlie Hebdo, it would have simply gone out of business – but no, Muslims are all about bringing it back into style.
You can kill 12 people, but you cannot kill ideas, and it seems like this is a lesson Muslims refuse to learn over and over again. Instead of using rhetoric and dialogue to resolve their issues they take the violent way out. Which begs the question, is the religious right oblivious to what happens when it burns flags and acts like a chimpanzee on heat, or are they helping promote blasphemous content on purpose?
Time and time again, this level of outrage has been met with support for the victims. A few will take to the stand to voice their politically correct messages of support where they try to quell Muslim sentiments while maintaining that murder is a big bad stupid thing. But by and large the only thing that comes out of this steroid infused outrage is the world standing up in solidarity with the victims – as it should.
Muslims are continuously boxing themselves in. They’re tightening their own noose, without the help of any Jewish or Hindu conspiracy. Sure, Sirajul Haq thinks that the US is behind every conspiracy that takes place in the Muslim world, but the obvious truth is this: Muslims are their own worst enemies. While Australia screams #IllRideWithYou and Germany launches rallies in support of their Muslim brothers, the Muslims return the favour by watching silently, and often happily, as their extremists set the world on fire.
Unless the often cited mythical silent majority stands up and starts talking with their mouths and leaves their fists behind, the world will leave this group behind. The only good that comes out of attacking, hurting, and killing people is that they rise against you, stronger than before. Often things that no one cares about become symbols of freedom and liberty. And this, as human history will prove, is something that will never change – Muslims are the ones that have to do the changing.