I am a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and a Buddhist too. If you don't like it, then this place is not for you, but as long as you don't force your beliefs on anyone, you're welcome to join in, it doesn't matter if you're a liberal, a republican or just simply you.
I'll be honest about it: I'm not Charlie. Not because Charlie and I have little in common, but because Charlie suddenly turned into the symbol of enlightened freedom that stands out against the humorless and violent Islam.
By: Dino Suhonic
I'm not Charlie because I'm not brave enough to criticize without self-censorship. I'm not Charlie because I sometimes find Charlie Hebdo cartoons tasteless, homophobic and racist. And I'm afraid that readers will think I'm condoning the terror attacks and that I'm an extremist who supports who the sociopaths and their misdeeds.
I'm not Charlie, not because I, as a Muslim, have no sense of humor or satire, as Jan Jaap van der Wal in "De Wereld Draait Door" claimed. He probably doesn't know Bassam Youssef and all other Islamic Jon Stewarts in Turkey, Iran and Egypt, who are risking their lives and end up in jail. Not because of 'Islam', but because dictators do not allow criticism.
I'm not Charlie because I don't want to be misused by right-wing extremists. Marine Le Pen was ridiculed often by Charlie Hebdo and that's why her fans called the magazine "communist trash". Never before has a boycott or an attack on Charlie Hebdo been contested by Marine Le Pen. Le Pen likened the presence of French Muslims to the presence of Germans in 1940. She also said that the death penalty should be reinstated. But as a Lebanese blogger said on Twitter: "This is the day when Le Pen became president." Meanwhile "freedom guardians" have torched several mosques in France . Their motto is: "Anyone who is against our freedom, must die." How democratic.
No, I'm not Charlie who is used by so-called radical humanists and atheists to label religious people as ticking timebombs in our free civilization. A unique opportunity for Hanses and Ebrus to say that Allah and His prophet do not exist. A banner a demonstration in Amsterdam read: "Religions = Fictions". As if this is an ideological struggle of religion versus enlightenment and democracy.
"JeSuisAhmed & Selvedin" I am Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim police officer who was shot dead at the gates of Charlie's editorial office. I am Ahmed, who courageously protected the building. that is one of the symbols of freedom of the press, with his life. A Muslim who protected a magazine that mocked his faith. I am Ahmed who ultimately is just not enough to prove that not all Muslims are sociopaths.
I am also Selvedin Beganovic, Bosnian imam, who two days before the drama in Paris, was stabbed with a knife in his chest by an ISIS sympathizer. This imam preached against the departure of Bosnian youth to Syria and Iraq. According to witnesses, his killer shouted similar slogans as the murderers did in Paris. I am Selvedin, who with his Islam protected freedom. And just like Charlie, continued his criticism against the violent extremists, despite all the threats and attacks on his mosque.
I am Ahmed and Selvedin who will get very few hashtags. I am Ahmed and Selvedin who are just not enough to belong, are constantly accused of betrayal of Islam and are seen as potential enemies of Western democracy.
And finally I am Dino. Someone who, as a Bosnian Muslim, knows all too well what deep-seated hatred and populism can do to people. Someone who knows that it only takes a few lunatics to make frightened people do the worst things. Someone who knows that victims of senseless violence can create a new spiral of hatred. And how much strength it took for me not give into that hatred myself. That was my jihad, that is my Islam.
Dino Suhonic is a member of the editorial board at Nieuwemoskee [New Mosque]
Article translated from Dutch to English by Myrtus and published here with permission.