My Reaction to the Charlie Hebdo Attack

What we need now is a “narrative of dialogue and coexistence.”

charlie-hebdoThe terror attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, though not surprising, is yet another blow to Europe’s multiculturalism.

The murderers, who are alleged Islamist terrorists, once again pose pertinent questions to those who believe in a free and pluralistic society.

It is a difference of world views, between secular Europe and extremist Muslims.

The former takes freedom of “all expression” for granted while the latter can’t tolerate any offense to the revered figures of their faith. There is a need of deeper dialogue between the two world views. Presently, the two are juxtaposed into a “narrative of clashes.”

What we need is a “narrative of dialogue and coexistence.”

Islamist terrorists, who are certainly a minority, have taken the world hostage and have closed every door of open dialogue. Terrorists aside, no Muslim can appreciate have their revered religious figures demonized. The overwhelming majority of Muslims are no doubt peaceful but acts like the demeaning of sacred figures are exploited by the terrorists for their advantage.

If terrorist attacks continue in Europe there is a real fear of retribution.

Zubair Torwali is Director of the Institute for Education & Development in Swat. Email: Follow him on Twitter @zubairtorwali. Read other articles by Zubair.

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  • Ali H. Alyami

    Ali H. Alyami

    It’s not just the “Muslim extremists” (a phrase this writer and other Muslim apologists use), it’s irreconcilable differences between freedom and totalitarianism or modern slavery. The West believes in the right of the individual to be the author of his/her destiny while most Muslims consider that antithetical to their religious teachings and its Shariah law.

    What this author is suggesting is for the West to embrace non-democratic Muslim values whose application and outcome is destroying his Swat region. Freedom of expression is a basic human rights even when they are offensive and many of them are, but that’s what democracy provides.