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Freedom of Expression, Killers on Prowl, and We the Global Citizens of West

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Message Jagdish Pathak

Charlie Hebdo late editors and the cartoonists' (Peace Be Upon Them) blatant murders by two identified terror suspects in the heart of Paris gave us lot of pain and agony. Opinions are divided if the provoking cartoons printing or not printing could have been avoided. Freedom of expression as envisaged in the French law is almost absolute. It is the law and its commensurate safeguards under the French law gave courage and strength to the editorial people to publish those cartoons, which became cause of untimely death of those talented people at the hands of another French citizen group who never accepted French laws despite being called its citizens.

Freedom of expression has been a matter of concern to various judicial jurisdictions all over the globe. People want it but with certain limitations. Western nations are always skeptical on the boundaries to such freedom. French people lived a different life before the advent of political Islam amongst its own people. Terror and hardline outfits of Islam started playing its devious role outside the borders of some Arab states after the al Qaeda type of organizations with the pan-Islamic bodies like 'Muslim brotherhood' became global. These organizations do not accept political boundaries and believe in some obnoxious claim like everybody is born Muslim and it is the parents who convert these newborn to other religions! (sic) They also do not accept that Muslims are to be country specific, and they have first loyalty to their religion and only secondary to the nation of citizenship.

The Islamic clergy has always been slow in condemning the killings in the name of their religion, which is almost always Islam. Often in denial mode, these clergy people preach to others calling Islam a religion of peace!! Often we hear a clamor of declarations that terrorists do not have any religion. This last argument has even been bought by many nations where they stopped calling such killings as Islamic killers though it was obvious. What is wrong if someone intends to call it Muslim terror? Dream of Islam rulers when almost half of the globe was ruled by Muslim rulers keep present day Islam in real self-inflicted agony. Average clergy in the mosque exhorts the lay Muslims that Islam was greatest religion and its followers ruled the world and why the same cannot be repeated again. Political Islam has become centerpiece of narrative where conversation has become almost impossible.

French killings are worst in Europe and might easily be no less than 9/11 for French people. If anyone thinks that stopping magazines like Charlie Hebdo from printing cartoons against Islam and its prophet would give lasting peace in France--he is wrong. Nobody publishes such cartoons in U.S. or Canada and still these killers all on prowl. Luckily, U.S. security machine never looked back after 9/11 episode in its efforts. We are safe because of American efforts to stop these killers before they wreak havoc on innocent citizens. France and almost every European nation need to be proactive. India has become very proactive since its 26/11 incident of Mumbai carnage.

Incidents of parliamentary attack in Canada reflect that liberal laws to deal with such exceptional global situation need revamping. Fortunately, Canadian government learnt its lesson by such tragic events of the recent past and planning to make drastic changes in its criminal laws and surveillance policies. We do not want any more murders taking place on the streets of the towns we live and love. Islamic terror can be dealt with not only changing or revising the existing laws but also by incentivizing mothers of the affected household to keep track on their adolescent age kids. It is noticed that majority of the members of these killing machines are coming from poor and broken families. National policies can be updated to help such families to cope with the adversities of the life.

Legislative changes on every front are needed with equally hardnosed stand on punishing killer individuals with its might. Will we succeed in eradicating this menace of killers on the streets by doing every effort? Perhaps the answer is no as Islam has its own intrinsic limitations when it comes to live peacefully with the people who do not believe in Islamic faith. They have never lived in peace with own brethren who are believer of Shia sect amongst them. They do not accept any other sect except own Sunni sect with strictly puritanical interpretations of Abdul Wahab or Salaffist ideology. These staunch fundamentalists do not agree with any reformist movement, rather despise and kill if anyone talks about the same. Examples are plenty where a voice of sense was cruelly stopped midway through or placed in the list of possible killing targets. The poor Saudi blogger is imprisoned and made to suffer lashes every week or a woman driver charged under terrorist law for driving in Saudi Arabia!! Do you want to respect this religion or in the name of respect fear this religion and its followers? Choice is yours.

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Dr. Jagdish Pathak is an award winning research professor of business policy and systems, An OP/ED contributor, and an avid nature and wildlife photographer settled in Canada. He writes on socio-political contemporary issues faced by under (more...)

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