There is No Fun in Islam? Charlie Hebdo learns the Hard Way

Is there truly “no fun in Islam?” Is it truly a live without sin and die kind of religion, as the infamous (and certainly depressed) Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran once famously stated?

Ayatollah Khomeini. He looks suitably miserable. Who bans fun from their life, unless they sinned too much? (photo from mideastweb.org)

Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly paper, might agree with Khomeini and say that yes, there is no fun in Islam, after the recent bombing of it’s headquarters.

Charlie Hebdo, like it’s Danish predecessor a couple years ago, became the recipient of Muslim ire and violence when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at it’s building and destroyed the office, after it decided to make the Prophet Mohammad a “Guest editor” for the magazine and included several cartoons.

The Blasphemous cover of Charlie Hebdo (taken from their Facebook page) which ignited such ire. "1000 lashes," Mohammad says, "if you don't die of laughter" Eh ben, personne ne mort de rire!

This incident has been bothering me for a while, and I decided to take a break from my Koran reading posts (which have also been bothering me) to discuss the incident. I am a strong supporter of freedom of speech, as long as you are not grossly name-calling or demeaning a certain people. (For example: there are many horrendous WordPress blogs that I have encountered denouncing Islam, Arabs, even our own country which disturb me oh-so-greatly for their pure lack of ignorance. I was called a “dumb little girl,” when I tried to rightly stand up to the ignorance. No such luck)

Muslims insisted that Charlie Hebdo (like the Danish cartoons before it) was insulting Islam and the Prophet and, in retrospect, themselves. This time, I’m going to have to stick up for the freedom of speech for several reasons, namely that:

1. The magazine wasn’t saying that Islam or Muslims were stupid or wrong.

2. The cartoonists weren’t blasphemizing, since they are not Muslim

3.  If we can’t poke fun at life, than we are going to end up like Iran (or Saudi Arabia; at least women drive in Iran and have water fights).

4. The issue was supposed to commemorate Tunisia’s moderate Islamic party victory; they weren’t condemning it (hey, Mohammad got the seat of honor: he was editing the magazine!)

6. Christianity-poking cartoons are produced without full-scale international clamor and bombing; learn to take a joke, please!

5. Violence is never, ever the answer. Protest all you want; but turning to violence is wrong. The cartoonists weren’t trying to destroy Islam, they hadn’t hurt anyone, but if someone had been in that office, they probably would have been dead. I never condone violence unless it’s self-defense (self-defense of your religion does not count).

Another reason that I sympathize with the Charlie Hebdo people is that I hope to one day publish the highly satirical Christian play I wrote, entitled L’Eglise (une comedie), and I sure as Hell don’t want my future abode to be bombed by some fanatical Christian who thought I was blaspheming and trying to bring down his religion.

Well, at least it looks like Charlie Hebdo has no hard feelings. “Love is stronger than hate:” what a good message!

S-L-M

"Love is Stronger than Hate" La une/cover of Charlie's post-bombing mag (from charliehebdo.fr)
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