|Christ falling on the way to Calvary |
by Raphael (Courtesy Wikipedia)
Just in case there can be any doubt Zineb El Rhazoui, a surviving columnist at Charlie Hebdo magazine who worked on the new issue, said: “We feel that we have to forgive what happened. I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this … We feel at the Charlie Hebdo team that we need to forgive.... The two terrorists who killed our colleagues, we cannot feel any hate … The mobilisation that happened in France after this horrible crime must open the door to forgiveness. Everyone must think about this forgiveness."
They may (or may not) be professed atheists and they are certainly not above drawing highly offensive cartoons about Jesus and Mary. But they display in this action the highest Christian values. Jesus on the cross says "Father forgive" and commands us to forgive our enemies and bless them that persecute you.
The Quran also commends forgiveness:
- Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant. (7: 199)
- "… They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (24:22)
- The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with Allah… (42:40)
- …. But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (64: 14)
- "But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow." ( 42:43)
- Believers "control their rage and pardon other people." (3:134)
The texts on which Muslims base their "justification" for the death penalty for blasphemy come from accounts of Mohammed's sayings and actions collected long after his death, and which represent him as justifying a man murdering is wife, and another man murdering a poetess in her bed. Do Muslims really believe that their prophet condoned murderous violence against defenceless women? Are they not at least willing to consider that these stories, which if true show their prophet in an appalling light and directly contradict some of the sayings in the Quaran, might be distortions?
We must continue to pray that God's light, truth, love and forgiveness will shine in the hearts of all men and women, even those who are currently filled with thoughts of murder.
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