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Charlie Hebdo and Paty beheading: Cue for World to learn from the French

  • Team PresentMirror | Updated: Oct. 24, 2020, 11:26 a.m.

The French have retaliated to the Paty beheading, by displaying large hoardings of Charlie Hebdo cartoons on Governmental buildings under complete security. The gesture by French to not bow down to elements of Hate is an inspirational example for countries like India, where the fundamental rights like Freedom of Speech are subject to mercy of one community.


The schools of thought, in 2020, as progressive as can be; the bad has actually gotten worse and the worst is yet to come. Is the damage far beyond repair for a long list of fringe groups of one of the major mainstream ideologies or, are we still not seeing the complete picture clearly? For how long does it drag on to simply be pointing out the wrongdoings of a few and claiming them to be just a few problematic tenets of an overall peaceful ideology?

A history teacher, Samuel Paty was beheaded by a Child’s Parent, for showing his students Charlie Hebdo caricatures as a sign of Freedom of speech. This beheading was repeat of Charlie Hebdo shooting, where two brothers Saed and Chérif Kouachi, shot 12 people dead and injured 11 others for making cartoons on Prophet Muhammad, inside premises of French satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

The beheading of Paty, has led French police to raid individuals and organisations that expressed support for the attack and attacker in the aftermath of the incident. The murderer Abdullakh Anzorov who had Syrian Terrorism connections was shot dead by the Police. The French also closed down a mosque responsible for supporting the ideologies of Hate. More than 240 people have died in France from Islamist violence since 2015.

charlie Image File : Charlie Hebdo Posters put over French Buildings as a sign of Solidarity to Paty’s beheading

The French government however have woken up to the threat called ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’. The cartoons from six Charlie Hebdo covers, were put on display for public eye as sign of solidarity with Paty on governmental buildings in towns of Montpellier and Toulouse, alongside a portrait of Paty. This gesture of the French is a sign of a Government that has strong resolve to not give in to the elements of Hate.

The threat looms large in Sweden and the rest of Europe

As far as Europe is concerned, radical Islamic violence spewed in Sweden by late-August this year. Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, who leads the far-right Danish anti-immigration party, Hard Line, was due to travel to Malmo to speak at an event and take part in an anti-Muslim rally. He had urged his supporters to burn the Quran but had been arrested and banned from Sweden for two years due to concerns about him breaking the Swedish law.

His arrest sparked an outrage among his followers who went ahead with the rally and set a copy of the Quran ablaze. In response to this event, a mob of around 300 people gathered in counter-protest, pelted rocks and concrete chunks at the police, burned down tyres and smashed bus sheds.

Sweden has historically been a safe haven for refugees from Islamic war-torn countries and, after Canada and Australia, has taken the most refugees per capita. Between 2013 and 2014, Sweden granted permanent residence permits to all Syrians in Sweden who sought asylum and since the beginning of the Syrian war, over 70,000 Syrians have fled to Sweden. In 2015 alone, Sweden received a record 1,62,000 applications for asylum primarily from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A country like Sweden that stands with open arms for the underprivileged asylum seekers is having to go through a whiplash from its changing demography that it boasts proudly of.

India, another major victim of Islamic Ideological terrorism

Radical Islamic violence continues to rise in India and abroad alike. Last December marked the beginning of a new form of 'resistance' in the country that was a perfect analogy to the age-old idiom of 'wolf in sheep's clothing'. This apparent 'resistance' is, however, non-cohesive to the usual action-reaction phenomenon observed in every other political protest as in the fact that this 'resistance' was not actually 'resisting' anything at all.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 was rightfully passed in the parliament as clearly promised in its 2019 general election manifesto, by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party that successfully began its second term in May, 2019. Unsurprisingly enough, a long chain of events began since the bill solidified into an Act. Muslim youth took to the streets in protest of the aforesaid bill. The reason behind the protests being - based on evidentiary religious persecutions faced, eligibility be given for Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India on or before 31st December 2014.

The simple exclusion of Muslim illegal immigrants, who are from the bordering nations of theocratic Islamic states, being denied citizenship, was used as a bait to attract masses to join the protests under the garb of a fake 'anti-Muslim' narrative. Within months, the protests turned into violent anti-Hindu riots. Hinduphobic slogans were raised all over the National Capital Region. The city of Delhi burned for days. Rioting, arson, burglary and shooting shook the beautiful city. Civilian lives along with defense and police personnel were lost. An IB officer was stabbed umpteen times. The National Investigation Agency's nationwide crackdown and the rigorous Supreme Court judgements shed clear light on the actual perpetrators of the riot.

The very outcriers of the government's policies being peddled as being anti-Islamic, were at the forefront of the violence that shut down all of Delhi. Arrests made under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) were found to be involved with and funded by radical Islamic Jihadist organizations like Propular Front of India (PFI).

Bangalore Riots, a wake up call for India

bengaluru_riots Image File : Burnt Aftermath of Bangalore riots

Another incident of radical Islamic violence took place in Bengaluru in August this year. An inflammatory Facebook post on Prophet Muhammad was allegedly shared by the nephew of Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka from the Indian National Congress party. Provoked by the incident, a Muslim mob arrived at his house in protest which soon led to violent arson. Murthy's property was torched. A few lives were lost and a hundred others were injured. Some of the crowds were also led by members of an Islamist fundamentalist political outfit PFI and few of its leaders were also arrested.

An independent Fact Finding committee report found entire incident to be preplanned and communally motivated giving cruel reminiscence of Charlie Hebdo.

In a country like India, where tolerance and communal harmony among diverse religious and cultural groups of people has been the epitome of unity. The secular fabric of the country is not merely a one-way effort but a collective endeavour of the ordinary people who look up to the constitutional values to be upheld. Events occurred in locations connected to each other by no means but by the shared ideology of the perpetrators of the violence.

A country where Fundamental rights behold law and order, such incidents only raise further questions. Are Fundamental rights like Freedom of Expression a subject to mercy of Islamic terrorism? Is mob justice through violence guided by Islamic extremism not challenging the tenets of Indian constitution that boasts of Equality to all?

Scenes from the homeland and abroad indicate one thing for sure. The radical elements of the progressive society do not fear the values of it, is adamant on fundamentalism, will not tolerate free speech and is most likely to rely on false propaganda. Disinformation and indoctrination by extremist elements of the society has time and again proven to be the under structure of violent hate crimes against the gullible lot of general public who are most likely to express their own solidarity towards religious groups that perpetuate their under/mis-representation.

Who is liable to be the undoubted victim of the ideology that cannot tolerate criticism? Isn’t the time ripe for India and the World to learn for the French and challenge the elements of Hate in their own coin? The anti-social elements sit quietly in the dark waiting for its next humongous adventure.

This article uses inputs and research by Anhad Jakhmola and Sukanya Sarma.

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