Respect for religion cannot be ignored
Updated: 2015-01-16 08:13
Satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo columnist Patrick Pelloux (R) and cartoonist Luz (L) show a copy of their next issue titled "Tout est pardonne" ("All is forgiven") showing a caricature of Prophet Mohammad during a news conference at the French newspaper Liberation offices in Paris, January 13, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo published its new issue, again with the image of the Prophet Muhammad on its cover, on Tuesday, a week after a murderous attack by militants on its Paris office.
We understand that it is a courageous manifestation of defiance at the terrorist attack, which killed 12 people. It is also a demonstration of its determined defense of the freedom of the press.
The attack that took place on Jan 7 drew global condemnation, including from some Islamic countries and organizations. The march in Paris to honor the victims on Sunday, joined by many state leaders and dignitaries from all over the world, is a declaration that the world will never give in to terrorism.
We are part of this world.
However, our sympathy with the cartoonists and innocent people gunned down by militants and our condemnation on the barbarous act of terrorists should never jaundice our understanding that the freedom of the press should not compromise the respect for a religion or culture.
On the question of religion and culture, the press should promote harmonious communication and amiable dialogue between different religions and cultures, rather than causing problems for the peaceful coexistence between peoples.
It is not beyond expectation that Iran, Egypt and some other Islamic countries expressed their discontent with the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad on the new cover of Charlie Hedbo, citing sanctities of the Islamic world.
If most of the 1.5 billion Muslims believe that their faith forbids depictions of the Prophet although they are also against Islamic extremism and terrorism, we should think differently.
Respect for each other's core values is the prerequisite for different religions and cultures to get along with each other.
Charlie Hebdo does have the freedom to publish cartoons that it believes express what cartoonists and editors want. But the reality is that most Muslims feel offended, which will affect the amiable dialogue between the West and the Muslim world and have negative impact on Europe's ethnic integration.