A satirical cartoonist might have to ‘think twice to survive’

Not just Charlie Hebdo, any organization or individual could become martyrs of ‘terror attacks’. Radicals who guard their religion with Kalashnikov’s masterpiece attacked Hebdo’s office killing one of the top journalists working there along with 11 other souls.

Freedom of speech is still a distant reality, there are gunmen roaming freely with rifles, ready to spray bullets on anyone who dare raise a finger against religion. In 1989, a bounty was declared by Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran on Salman Rushdie, a renowned writer from UK.

The ‘spiritual leader’ said that Rushdie’s book, ‘The Satanic Verses’ was ‘blasphemous towards Islam and that he is sentenced to death’ in terms of fatwa. Rushdie was then forced to live under police protection for over seven years; the UK later cut diplomatic ties with Iran over the controversy.

The Muslim Shariah law has harsh punishments such as lashing and death for apostasy and blasphemy. ‘Respect’ can be given to legends and heroes whose works or words have created some impact in the society. ‘Respect’ is given to inspirational or motivational forces—not to forces that choose to control with a bullet.

The story of Riaf Badawai, a Saudi national who called for free speech in the land of the monarchs is shocking as he was sentenced to 10 years in prison along with 1,000 lashes. He received his first fifty lashes on a Friday in public. And he will receive 50 lashes every Friday until the thousandth whip.

Scholars claim that Islam is a religion of peace, but somewhere down the line the ‘peace’ was forgotten and Muslim scholars in the medieval times spread narrow-minded  propaganda after twisting the actual words from the Quran. According to Mustafa Akyol, a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times, wrote that the Quran never banned practicing fine art, it was the scholars who interpreted it, according to the norms of their times.

Again, ‘respect’ cannot be given to morals that sought to kill torture and behead. Religious sentiments were hurt when Hebdo published the satirical cartoon depicting a woman lifting up her Burqaa revealing her innerwear with an inscription which reads: “Unemployed pension for purchase.”

Some people will take the cartoon as offensive, but nothing justifies the terror attacks on Hebdo’s office in Paris. There are other ways to show condemnation–for example, when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons in 2005 depicted prophet Muhammad with the headline, ‘Muhammeds ansig’, which means ‘The face of Muhammad;’ the whole of Middle-East boycotted Danish products.

The boycott costed, Denmark—the biggest exporter to the Middle East, $1.6 million per day in the initial weeks of the boycott.

A satirical cartoonist might have to think twice, and this curbs ‘freedom of speech’, this very right is a governing force for a free media.