Charlie Hebdo: A Magazine Taking the World by Fire

By: Maya Razmi

Freedom of speech is a right that we, as American citizens, frequently exercise and, even more frequently, take for granted. As American citizens, we have the right to say what we want to say, as long as it doesn’t harm the lives of others.

Although the French have freedom of speech, recently, 17 people were killed in Paris, France for exercising their right to free speech. A satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, had a comic portraying the Prophet Muhammad crying while holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign, meaning, “I am Charlie”. The people that were murdered included the editor of the magazine and some of the cartoonists. The Islamic terrorist group, Al Qaeda, has taken responsibility for the attacks.

Originally, only 60,000 copies of the magazine were sold per week, however, now, more than three million copies are being sold worldwide.

On the other hand, numerous people are protesting in Muslim countries such as Niger, a former French colony, and Pakistan, because in Islam, desecration of the Prophet is forbidden. More than 5,000 people protested in Lahore and Karachi, both major cities and Pakistan. In Karachi, many journalists were injured, children were throwing stones, and numerous people were tear- gassed. Furthermore, tear gas had to be used in Niger because the riots escalated and French flags were burned.

Although many Muslims are protesting against Charlie Hebdo, it is extremely important to note that not all Muslims are “bad”, especially because terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban are Islamic extremists. Furthermore, many Muslims believe that these riots should stop as Islam is a religion of peace.

It is horrifying that one magazine could begin such an immense worldwide movement. Although freedom of speech is an inherent right, it is a right we must use with caution.


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