“I’m offended by the cartoon of my Prophet!”

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I sit in class as my professor talks about – Why American news channels didn’t share the actual picture of Mohammed the Prophet on TV and only showed it rolled up.

Someone yells “The Americans are scared they’ll be next!”
“They’re saving themselves!” The guy behind me adds.
The girl in front of me says “Everyone knows the Americans are cowards!”
“They aren’t actually respecting anyone!” Someone else shouts.
“Big bad America is now scared? Hahaha”

I put my head down and started to think. I say to myself – you own The New York Time, do you allow your workers to share the cartoon of Mohammed the Prophet. I didn’t have to think for much longer. It was obvious.
Why would I share this picture? Why would I want to offend someone? I heard the Muslims in France saying they won’t buy the newspaper because they feel offended. Someone said “I’m offended by the cartoon of my Prophet!” That’s enough for me to decide. I will not share the picture.
Freedom of speech is also being able to freely decide what you will say and share. I choose not to share hate, not to share something that could offend a friend of mine. If I owned The New York Times, I wouldn’t share the cartoon. I wouldn’t offend my fellow being.

Was Charlie Hebdo trying to promote hate? Of course not. They were making jokes about everyone and their intentions were not to start a fire.
Does this mean I don’t believe in the freedom of speech? Of course not. Everyone is granted the right to the freedom of speech and to share whatever they feel. But we are also granted the right to decide what we share.
Even if the American news channels did not share the picture because they are scared, I am glad. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone by sharing it. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone by blurring out the cartoon. I’m glad they didn’t offend anyone and still managed to report the news.
Because being a journalist means reporting the news. Not offending others on the way.

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2 thoughts on ““I’m offended by the cartoon of my Prophet!”

  1. Angy, I’m amazed each time I read a post or comment of yours. You’re so far above your age in experience, understanding, and empathy. You are also not afraid of expressing yourself (excellently) on topics that are not easy.
    On this issue, I agree with your approach. But I’m not sure where we should put a border. That is, OK…we won’t piss off Muslim friends by showing the caricature of their prophet. Do we also give in to our ultra-Orthodox friends by not showing women in “normal,” western dress? Do we give in to other ethnic/religious groups by not showing something that might offend them?
    In the end, by doing this, we become them. Our newspapers will print only what wouldn’t offend someone, our magazines will print only photos without anything interesting, our newscasts won’t offend anyone because we will report only things that won’t offend anyone.
    Obviously, I’ve taken this to an extreme. But, otherwise, where do we draw the line?
    For a newspaper/website, everyone has the option to look and then look away, if they so chose. My girls are sickened when they see juicy steaks, sitting in a plate of blood of a poor animal. Don’t even consider showing someone cutting muscle fiber with a sharp knife. Barfaroo! Do we not ever show those so as not to insult persons who are religiously vegetarian?
    I think you touched on the correct point. The Charlie Abdo cover was not created to promote hatred, nor piss people off. It was to create a discussion of extreme religion’s grip on more and more lives. It wasn’t aimed at those not guilty of hatred or crimes. So, I think we should allow it, if it is not intended to cause pain or insult, but to get the point across. We can even apologize to anyone offended by the image. But to hold back? I don’t think so.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words Moshe! Always so nice to hear feedback from someone as intelligent and experienced as you!
      I agree that giving in is not the solution. Doing what “they” want us to do, isn’t the smart option of course. I am a Vegan, and I can’t look at pictures of meat – I can’t even listen to the commercials on the radio that talk about “Steak on the grill” without getting grossed out. And that’s why I can switch the channel. But with such a high majority of beings who believe in religion – I think these news channels have every right to avoid posting the picture knowing it will offend other people and they didn’t do it because they were afraid (or anyways I sure hope not) but hopefully they did it because they are respect people who believe in this religion and find the Prophet ‘something you don’t joke about.’

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