Charlie Hebdo's new Prophet Mohammed cover: Freedom of speech or hate speech/provocation?

2015-01-15 09:32

Given the current situation in France where 12 staff members of Charlie Hebdo were killed, in the attack which is triggered by the published cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in 2012, Charlie Hedbo published another cover of its latest edition showing a weeping Prophet Mohammed holding a sign saying "Je Suis Charlie" under the banner "All Is Forgiven". There are claims that millions of copies are already sold. Is this further demonstration of freedom of speech or is it hate speech/provocation to those opposing the publication in the first place?

Freedom of speech is generally defined as “human right to voice one's opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment.” Even in our country, everyone has a right to express himself without been intimated by others. It is the right everyone enjoys and is normal in most of the countries. And I guess Charlie Hebdo is exercising their rights in this case. So, do you consider others when you express your views?

But some express Charlie’s intention as hate speech. Hate speech is any speech, conduct, writing, or display which it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group. People seem to respond differently when someone they dearly admire and love is portrayed as different from what they believe is. We know from our context the expressions like “We will kill for Zuma.” And the commotion is caused. Then, if you are offended by certain expression, what options do you have to express your views; violence, kill?

In addition to France’s developments, like conflicts in Israel-Palestine, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al -shabaab in Kenya, Christians vs. Muslims in Central Republic, ISIS Syria and Iraq and etc.; it appears that there is no leadership willingness to sit and talk in order to have amicably solutions to these challenges. All what we see is retaliations.

Either hate speech or freedom of speech, no one should loss their lives because of their different views. Given diverse belief systems, backgrounds and experiences, what is required from world leaders is to be considerate, tolerant, and initiate talks in order to allay the potential mayhem.

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