Samuel Paty, a brave social sciences teacher, was beheaded and trophy to the world which his Muslim fanatic assassin published in social media just minutes after committing the brutal crime in the name of his God, and his pedophile and ignorant Muhammad the prophet.
What infamous excuse did the extremist have? According to the befuddled muderer, the teacher offended him and millions of other devote followers of Islam by showing the famous cartoons published in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in a class on the freedom of expression that lead another extreme fanatic, belonging to a similar destructive sect, to assassinate the journalists that had made and published the drawings.
Is this a valid excuse from any point of view? No, and a thousand times no. The human right to the freedom of expression (Number 19 in the Declaration of Human Rights of the UNO) is one of the fundamental and inalienable rights that each 8human acquires by the simple fact of being born as part of our species.
The Declaration of Human rights was created and enacted as a pact between the majority of humans that had experienced very harsh and bloody moments in the history of humanity (The horrendous crimes of the Second World War) and is ratified, continuing to be valid to this day by the majority of world nations. The Declaration of Human rights, as a document, strives for the peace of all humans and that narcissists, psychopaths and sociopaths with power such as Hitler’s, Stalin’s, Mao’s, Mussolini’s or of the emperor o Hirohito of Japan, won’t be able to commit the atrocities infringed on millions of human beings based on excuses of beliefs devoid of principles and anti- human rights, as, for example, those of the fanatic extremist assassin of the teacher Samuel Paty.
Unfortunately, ignorance of these rights, in this case, the ignorance of the freedom of expression as an unbreakable human right that, as expressed by the UNO, includes blasphemy as a form of religious freedom and the freedom of thought (art 18 Human Rights), brought this alienated individual (and others to whom this destructive sect had brain-washed with absurd promises, such as an outer worldly paradise with seventy-two virgins awaiting them) to carry out these horrifying attacks.
Not just these horrendous human beings full of hatred in their hearts and false promises due to infamous religious teachings have sought to justify these terrible actions, but also “moderate” believers of this vast and diverse religion, members of other religions and even atheists have tried to justify this abominable homicide employing incipient and very misguided reasoning.
Some of these blame the teacher for provoking the wrath of the Jihadi by using these cartoons in his class. Others believe that the Human Right to the freedom of expression should limit itself to what is “politically correct” and therefore take care not to offend the “religious feelings” of Muslims. The most daring bungee-jump of logic is saying that it’s all about “Islamophobia”, trying to compare believers of Islam to a race, an assessment so mistaken as to say that being one of the 1,200 million Catholics would make you a part of a particular race of humans.
So, the horrific crime committed last Friday 16th of October at 2.00pm, time in France, leaves us with many lessons to those of us, who struggle for a secular State and for Human Rights, connected to this type of social organization by democratic countries.
The lessons I believe that we should take from this tragic experience are:
1. We should all defend the Secular State and the freedom of expression, teach those that we can why blasphemy is not an excuse for acts of terrorism and why criticism of religion is part of a healthy democracy.
2. The cultural relativism preached as doctrine of postmodernism is as dangerous as the totalitarianism of fascism. We should find a middle ground that allows the migration from Islamic cultures for those seeking refuge from the difficulties they experience in their nations and the education that should be imparted in order that they accept and coexist healthily with human, religious, cultural and social differences that exist between their homeland and their new country of residence.
3. We need to take heed of the French President, Emmanuel Macron’s proposal, that poses the need to carry out a scientific study that seeks to learn how to avoid extremism in Islam (I would include whatever religion), in order to understand the techniques of mental manipulation used by the destructive sects in Islam, Christianity or any religious group and how to combat them.
4. Value and imitate the bravery of the French nation that defends Republican values, upholding the secularism of the State as a means of guaranteeing the coexistence between the great diversity of people, religions and cultures. They are quite clear about this, since the French Revolution they have promoted human rights, where secularism was one of the pillars implemented to do away with the inequality endorsed by the monarchy that believed it was their “divine” right to rule.
Finally, studying what human rights are, how they are applied internationally and why defending and teaching them like the hero Samuel Paty intended to do, will, not only allow us to be more conscious of their importance to us as individuals, but also as a more civilized and sustainable global society in the long run.
By David Mariño Segura
Executive Director of Asociación de Ateos de Bogotá
Translation: Edward Duigenan