Dated: January 14, 2015

The World Ahlulbayt Islamic League hereby announces that we are utterly appalled and shocked at the murder of the staff at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last week.

Such violent rampant killings are condemned by us as followers of the Islam of the Prophet and his progeny.
The West is seeing a surge in radicalised violence, perpetrated by those of a skewed ungodly and un-Islamic interpretation of Islam. This radical anti-human ideology is encouraged by hate preachers and set in motion by those who have opposed peaceful co-existence for centuries.
We as Shias of Britain are all too aware of hate crimes: Shia Muslims have suffered killings, terror and violence for centuries at the hands of extremists. This same ideology is now turning its hate on Europe. Radicalised by violent jihad against the innocent civilians in Syria, Iraq and other lands, European Jihadists fighting abroad are returning and posing a threat to civilian life. The brutal murder of Ian Rigby, the hate preaching from certain mosques in Britain, is one example of this threat. As victims ourselves of this hate ideology, we stand in solidarity with all victims of hate crime.
However, we equally condemn the ridicule, denigration, caricature and Islamophobic hate by magazines such as Charlie Hebdo, for attacking the very sanctity of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny).

Supporters of Charlie Hebdo believe that the way forward is to ridicule Islam further. On January 14th 2015, the magazine has taken the ill-thought step of publishing an offensive cartoon of the Prophet. Since the attack on their headquarters last week, there have been more than 50 reported attacks on Muslims in France. Far right fascist anti-Muslim demonstrations and attacks on mosques have increased. 

We are deeply concerned about this wave of Islamophobia sweeping across America and Europe.

Ironically the Far Right and Liberal Left both feel they are justified to criticise Islam in the name of ‘freedom of speech’. We wholly support free speech, but there is no such thing as unfettered freedom to speak insult, incite hate, and offend. Just as it is an offence to make racist jokes or jokes denying the Jewish Holocaust, it should equally be an offence to ridicule the sanctity of a faith, which inevitably adds more fuel to the extremist terrorist agenda.
The horrors of last century's anti-Semitism in Europe are fast resurfacing as Islamophobia. The hallmark of a civilised society is to protect the vulnerable, and respect and include the minority in community life.

The Shias of Britain, as a minority, are saddened that we are attacked both by the terrorists and by offensive cartoons and disrespect. We call for an ostracism of every action intended to incite hate, and we ask Britain to take more proactive steps for community building, to withdraw support for caricatures ridiculing Islam, and to fight terrorism through education and knowledge of real peaceful Islam.
Sayed Mohammad Al-Musawi
World Ahlulbayt Islamic League
United Kingdom
January 2015

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