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Vive la liberté!

The truth is we allowed Islam to be hijacked by a bunch of cowards

Faisal J. Abbas

Published: Updated:

By all standards, the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo was an atrocious crime not just against France, and freedom of expression, but against Islam itself.

Indeed, such acts done in the name of Islam are, ironically, the worst disservice that could ever be done to the religion and its followers; the majority of whom don’t subscribe to the practices and violent acts of the likes of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Looking back at the recent history and awful events such as New York’s 911 attacks, London’s 7/7 bombings and what happened in Paris yesterday, one can’t help but to feel sorry that we – Muslims – have become our own worst enemy.

It is surreal that such acts, committed in the name of Islam by the likes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, have done more to harm the religion and its followers than any damage that anyone else could have possibly inflicted upon us.

Such acts done in the name of Islam are, ironically, the worst disservice that could ever be done to the religion and its followers

Faisal J. Abbas

What upsets one the most is the disgraceful arguments still being made in defense of such crimes, particularly when it comes to the Charlie Hebdo incident where some argue that the helpless editors and cartoonists deserved what they got because they insulted Islam and its symbols.

Such arguments are simply absurd! I am not sure what religion the perpetrators follow, but if it is Islam then I ask why they cherry-pick the parts that only justify their offences and forget the fact that the Prophet Mohammad’s life was full of examples were he forgave those who threw stones at him, insulted him, took his belongings and tortured and killed his followers?

Furthermore, what have the perpetrators achieved? If anything, they led to thousands of people accessing and sharing the cartoons which they found offensive and dozens of newspapers around the world re-publishing them. As such, they actually help spread the very same material which they were trying to suppress.

I am not sure what religion the perpetrators follow, but if it is Islam then I ask why they cherry-pick the parts that only justify their offences

Faisal J. Abbas

On that note, it is definitely worth remembering that Islam – the religion that once built a great civilization and brought enlightenment, science and arts to the modern world – shouldn’t be allowed by people who really care for it to seem like it can be shaken or disturbed by a mere cartoon.

The truth is we allowed Islam to be hijacked by a bunch of cowards. If the perpetrators behind the Charlie Hebdo attack were really concerned about Islam and its icons, then perhaps their priority is to look at the acts of the likes of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi which allowed others to mock us in the first place!

In a recent cartoon published by Charlie Hebdo, a sword-wielding ISIS fighter shouting “Die, infidel!” is attempting to decapitate a man who looks puzzled - as he claims he is in fact the Prophet Mohammad!

Whether or not this cartoon is actually blasphemous, it really does hit the nail on the head when it comes to depicting the mentality of ISIS. And what is certainly ironic is that if the beloved Prophet Mohammad was to return today with all the tolerance, forgiveness and fairness he preached; he would probably be denounced by the very same radical people who committed yesterday’s crime in his name.

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Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, he is a renowned blogger and an award-winning journalist. Faisal covered the Middle East extensively working for Future Television of Lebanon and both Al-Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab dailies. He blogs for The Huffington Post since 2008, and is a recipient of many media awards and a member of the British Society of Authors, National Union of Journalists, the John Adams Society as well as an associate member of the Cambridge Union Society. He can be reached on @FaisalJAbbas on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.