Imam Tariq Azeem
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Lloydminster.
The attack that took place at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine, is a very tragic incident. It has claimed 12 lives, and affected many more.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community categorically and unequivocally condemns this attack.
We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We hope the perpetrators are swiftly arrested and punished for their heinous crime.
While it is absolutely wrong to mock others’ religions and their holy founders, even if done in the name of ‘freedom of speech’, there is no justification in Islam for violent response to any provocation. In fact, the Holy Quran says: “And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth with humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ [25:64]”
Thus, violence is never the answer to anything. When hurtful cartoons were published against Islam or Prophet Muhammad in the media, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community responded every time but this response was always peaceful, following the true teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims need to learn from the example of their prophet: it is narrated that there was an elderly lady during the time of Prophet Muhammad who had made it a daily habit to throw garbage on the Prophet to show her hatred towards him; an act that he would ignore. One day, the lady did not throw garbage, and her absence had the prophet worried. He went to the elderly lady’s house to inquire if she was okay. The elderly lady was so impressed by Prophet Muhammad’s act of kindness that she had a change of heart towards him.
This is the example that followers of Prophet Muhammad should be following – one of peace and compassion. Acting upon this example, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community launched a nationwide campaign in 2012, known as, The Astonishing Story of the Prophet, which highlighted the noble character of Islam’s holy founder. Events were held throughout the country, which were attended by masses in every city.
If one claims to be a follower of Prophet Muhammad, then such person should follow in his footsteps. Taking law into one’s own hands and committing murders is not what Islam teaches.
It is hoped that the perpetrators behind the Paris shooting are quickly arrested and brought to justice and also that we are able to establish a peaceful society in which all faiths and religions are respected.
(edit- The two suspects in the shooting and a third hostage-taker that was linked to them are now deceased after confrontations with French security forces.)