The constitution of Islam makes it an obligation on every Muslim to defend the sanctity of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him). The noble Qur’an also expressly forbids insulting or mocking people, including those systems and ideals they hold dear:
And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do.(Qur’an 6:108)
The world’s Muslims are thus justified in their outrage at the ferocity of telling discriminatory injustices and thuggery against French Muslims by the French State. Mosques, Muslim charities and Muslim businesses have been summarily shut down for no breaches of the law. The homes of Muslims have been raided with impunity. All with the blessings, tacit and otherwise, of politicians and the “free” French Media. And barely a few days have passed since two women wearing hijabs in Paris were stabbed in an outrageous attack feared to have racist and Islamophobic undertones.
Moreover, in response to the recent heinous murder of Samuel Paty by a solitary Muslim, the French government’s action is to heap further insults on the Muslim world by callously displaying and projecting vulgar and offensive cartoons of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him), on Government buildings across the country. These actions clearly run contrary to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement tweeted recently that, “we respect all differences in a spirit of peace”.
To claim that this is in the name of “Freedom of Speech” is untenable and false, when it has long since been clear in France that such a concept only applies to some sections of French society:
- In 2005, a French court banned a Jesus based clothing advert mimicking Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The display was ruled “a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people’s innermost beliefs”;
- Also in 2005, the ‘Aides Haute-Garonne’ organised an informative evening about the prevention of the HIV and AIDS. A prospectus handed out at the event contained a head-and-shoulders image of a woman wearing a nun’s bonnet and two pink condoms. Proceedings by a Catholic group were upheld by the French courts as offending a group because of its religion;
- In 2009, the notorious Charlie Hebdo Magazine was itself censored when they published a cartoon about Sarkozy’s son and a Jewish heiress because it was considered to be anti-Semitic satire;
- Following recent remarks about Mr Macron by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a French presidential official stated that France’s ambassador to Turkey was being recalled commenting that “excess and rudeness are not a method”. . . The irony of this remark is surely not lost on the French state in light of its own provocative actions.
What is apparent from the above is that France has limits to freedom of speech, ruling it particularly unpalatable when used against minority groups and faiths, except in the case of Islam and Muslims. The resulting intolerance towards Muslims and the culture of Islamophobia created must end. Recent debates particularly following the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted the importance of acknowledging and learning from difficult periods in history and its impact on our present.
It was France who colonised Muslim countries in Africa and North Africa, including Algeria where 15% of the Algerian population was massacred during the French occupation from 1945 to 1962. Today, Muslims in France are disenfranchised, marginalised and suffer with unemployment. These ills are exacerbated through generalising terrorist crimes and blaming it on Islam to justify retaliatory collective punishment on a minority population. This holds true whether it be upon the Muslims of France, Kashmir, Gaza or China.
We call on our Muslim brothers and sisters in France to remain strong and steadfast. We may be separated by borders, but our hearts are united with yours by Islam and an inextinguishable love for our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of God be upon him).
We wholeheartedly support the world’s Muslims boycotting French goods, products and services until the French government puts a swift and final end to the oppression and repression of its Muslim citizens.
As for the Honour of the Prophet (peace and blessing of God be upon him), this is not impacted in the least by the actions of bigots for:
Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace.(Qur’an 33:56)