LAST_UPDATESun, 22 Jul 2018 9pm

Why Islam Has A Bad Reputation - In France

Did Charlie Hebdo’s satirical magazine go too far in its cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam in general? Or is it okay to do so under French law?

As the horrifying turn of events have unfolded and the ashes settled of last week’s massacre, questions on freedom of speech and expression arises.

Here’s what French people had to say when Malaysian Digest managed to contact a few who were in France when it happened:

“Freedom of speech and freedom of press are one of the fundamental principles of the democratic systems based on freedom of opinion/expression. I do not think Charlie Hebdo went too far. How can people kill someone because of a cartoon!” says a French lecturer who is a resident in Malaysia, but was in Paris when it all happened.

“Charlie Hebdo has many times been criticised and considered as Islamophobe. They used to make fun of all politicians and all religions but they have never been attacked by a Christian nor a Jew.

“We all know that all Muslims are not terrorist, however all terrorists are Muslims.

“And when people don’t like or are scared of Islam, we cannot say that they are racist - they are only Islamophobic,” angrily declares the proud Frenchman.

The ‘Real’ Islam?

On who is to blame for this whole incident, the French lecturer believes that “the Islamic institution and Imam (those responsible for teaching the religion) have failed here...because it is their job to head young Muslims in the right way.”

However, talking to a few Malaysians about this issue, Faiz Fuad who used to study French says otherwise.

Because religion is a personal thing, he believes it is actually the job of parents to guide children with the right teachings of Islam in their upbringing.

“There are Muslim moderates - and in the end they are the ones who will suffer. These people are literally sick in their heads and are not even acting as ‘proper’ Muslims.”

Faiz also believes that what they did was right, but also wrong.

“If they know that these cartoons will provoke a violent outcome, and this isn’t the first time it has happened to Charlie Hebdo, why do they keep doing it? We can’t really expect extremists to be rational. They’re extremists,” he said.

Enough Is Enough

Easier said than done though, for all the talk of being moderate in Islam. For French people and the Frenchman, they have reached their breaking point.

“France is a secular country with a very long Judeo-Christian tradition. We don’t give a s**t for Islam or the Hadiths and we don’t want to know if this or that Muslim guy is a good Muslim, a moderate one, a bit extremist or other things.

“What is at stake today is simple: France is colonised by people from diversed backgrounds and origins. There is a destruction of our civilization and by other cultures that are allogeneic (alien), which are contrary to our morals, our vision of the world and mankind, our values, our habits and our story. What kind of people would accept it without flinching?” states the French lecturer.

The Frenchman also says that it is unfortunate that his opinion is a part of the French people and his only - and that not all French people thinks this way too.

Laura, from Montpellier in France, also agrees.

“We are under the repression of extremist jihadists in France, and under threat from them. We are fighting against a cowardly force who pretend to be soldiers.”

Faiz agrees to a certain extent for why Muslims are hated there. “You must look at the context. France have had many problems with its Muslim migrants from Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria for many years now. They are forming a big minority there. And these people expect to live in France, make their own communities and then demand that the French recognise their ways of life and implement the Syariah (Islamic) law.

“Come on, you’re in someone else’s country. You can be Muslim, but you have to be French at the same time - and respect its laws and customs. If you move to Canada, you can still be Muslim but you are also Canadian,” he points.

Faiz concluded that both were extremists in their own way; the magazine and the shooters.

“But perhaps the shooters were just practicing their freedom of expression too - but in a violent manner”.

French, And Muslim

How about French Muslims, where do they fit in all this limbo?

In our interview with a French-Algerian Muslim man who was born and raised in Paris, he tells us how he was disgusted with what had happened.

“I’m sad for all of this. They pretend to be Muslims but they can’t be, they are just stupid f***ing cowards, and most probably manipulated.

“We’re used to this, with a lot of stupid people everywhere making stupid comments about Islam. It’s been happening again and again”.

For Muslims travelling to France, he gives a tip:

“Tourists are not considered as Muslims, especially when they are Asians. And Paris is a very cosmopolitan and open minded city.”

- Malaysian Digest