The Charlie Hebdo shooting is a crime against freedom of speech, and a tragedy. But the backlash against the French Muslim community is something that never should have happened. Since the incident, two Muslim places of worship in two separate towns were fired upon; three grenades were thrown at a mosque; someone shot at another mosque shortly after evening prayers; and a small explosion occurred in a shop near yet another mosque. The outright violence against the Muslim population is shocking.
But is it actually anything new? History suggests not. France colonized Algeria and subjugated it to its rule for over one hundred years until Algeria won back its freedom, at the cost of 1.5 million lives. Due to global economics, Algerians immigrated to France in hopes of better jobs and better lives; instead, they found themselves a part of an oppressed and exploited community, along with other immigrants from former colonies. French Muslim women cannot wear their hijab at school or at work. When the Palestinians were being killed in Israel, France banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Apparently things like “freedom of speech” and “rights” only apply to oppressive, exploitative majorities at the expense of minorities who actually have something they need to say.
Wow, doesn’t this sound awfully familiar? For those of you slower on the uptake, I’m talking about Ferguson.
I don’t deny that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was terrible, and that it never should have happened. However, it seems that people are taking this opportunity to rally against Muslims, conveniently ignoring the fact that a Muslim police officer was killed in the attack as well. It just goes to show that one sect of a group cannot represent the whole, but it seems that Muslims are all seen as sinister gun-toting terrorists alike. Just as there was a rash of police crimes against African Americans after Ferguson, Muslims have come under fire – not just on the internet, but in real life, and #jesuischarlie is the rallying cry. Is this a trend that I truly want to support, knowing that even now the #jesuischarlie movement is trampling on the rights it claims to support?
I think not.