An Irish Islamic center published a guide on Monday for Muslims struggling to cope in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre committed by two radical Islamists last week. The center called on Muslims to respond with “patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy,” but also had some criticism for those that publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad such as the images published by Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper: “The publishing of cartoons that insult or make fun of the Prophet Muhammad will hurt the sentiments of 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.”
The 10-point guide, published by the Islamic Education & Cultural Centre Ireland, said that “Muslims do believe in freedom of speech” but that “we all know that there is no such thing as absolute free speech.” It added that freedom of speech was not intended to insult other cultures, customs or traditions.
The guide can be read in full on the center’s website. It went on to ask Muslims to emulate the Prophet Muhammad’s own peaceful and forgiving nature in wake of the attacks. Attacks on French mosques have gone up since the initial attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on Wednesday, according to the Telegraph. The guide asked Muslims to engage with non-Muslims and express their feelings.
A professor with a separate Islamic center said it would seek legal avenues if an Irish newspaper republished a photo of the upcoming Charlie Hebdo cover, which shows the Prophet Muhammad crying and holding a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie.”
“If the law gives you the right to do it, do it; if the law does not give you the right to do it, then don’t do it,” said Dr. Ali Selim of Trinity College and the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland, adding that publishing the cartoon “doesn’t help for peaceful coexistence” and is a mockery, according to Irish Central.
Both centers signed a joint press release with six other Irish Islamic centers condemning the Kouachi brothers’ attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices last week that killed 12 people and started a three-day terror spree that ended with five other people dead. The brothers, who claimed to have trained with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, sought to silence the satirical magazine for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Roughly 3.7 million people, including more than 40 world leaders, attended a rally in Paris on Sunday in defense of free speech and remembrance of the victims.