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UN Watch

The French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo is known for its irreverent approach to religion. In the past it has published cartoons of the Prophet. A cartoon controversy has raged for quite some time in western Europe, which has resulted in similar violent assaults by incensed Muslims determined to mete out extreme punishment on the offenders.

By Syed Ubaidur Rahman     The latest Charlie Hebdo cover is a talking point across the world. The French satirical weekly, which was attacked by gunmen and 12 people were killed, including its editor, has printed at least five million copies of the latest issue. It is courageous of the newspaper and its management to come out with the next issue so soon after the tragedy.   While the whole world has been saddened by the unfortunate incident in France, there has been a sort of outpouring of Islamophobia across the world, especially in Europe. Dozens of attacks have been reported on Muslim establishments across France following the Charlie Hebdo attack. Islamophobia is being spread in a systematic way across Europe with several government officials throughout Europe telling Muslims to leave the continent if they want to live in peace. Every Muslim is being asked to condemn the attack.   However, despite the killings of thousands of Muslims in the Central African Republic and the rape of a large number of women, the barbaric incidents in the CAR were never condemned by the Christian world. There were just a few expressions of regret and nothing more. The worst thing was the fact that this whole massacre of Muslims was done under the nose of French army battalions stationed in Bangui, the capital of the impoverished nation.   No one has actually asked George Bush senior and junior to apologise for the death of the hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia and many other Muslim nations. Pakistani tribal regions continue to be pounded by US Predators, killing hundreds of people every month.   Whose war is the US fighting in Libya, Syria or for that matter in Iraq? While the whole world seemed to be in attendance in Paris for the million people march, why did the same world not show any concern for the Mumbai attack, for terror incidents in Assam, for the Peshawar killings of innocent kids who were targeted by a group of terrorists whose very genesis was planned with the active help of the US and the CIA? No one came out strongly against the summer war in Gaza where several hundred young children were massacred even inside the confines of hospitals, schools and UN shelter homes. Why is no one shedding tears for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are being butchered by Bashar al-Assad?   And by the way where is the limit of freedom of expression. Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were given a free hand while drawing outrageous cartoons of the Prophet, caricatures of Christian religious figures were not allowed as it would disturb law and order.   Following the publications of Prophet Muhammad cartoons in 2012 that were more than ‘shocking’ and ‘offensive’, the French government, which claims to be the champion of human rights and free speech, banned street protests not just in Paris but across the country. If the publication of cartoons were legit in the eyes of the French law, the population too has the fundamental right to protest.   Olivier Cyran, who worked with Charlie Hebdo for 10 years while criticising the magazine’s policy of Islamophobia, says, “Hunkered down behind your aching sides, you claim the sacred right ‘to laugh’ equally at imams, priests and rabbis. Why not, if you still really applied this principle. Have you forgotten the Siné incident [where a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist was sacked for anti-Semitism in 2008]?”   Despite the injustice and the sheer magnitude of the anti-Islam propaganda, the killings of the cartoonists and the policemen one of whom was Muslim, were barbaric and condemnable. Prophet Muhammad himself would have pardoned the cartoonists if he was around.     (Syed Ubaidur Rahman is a New Delhi-based writer, The views expressed by the author are personal )   Hindustan Times, January 20, 2015 

The first two weeks of 2015 have not helped moderate Muslims anywhere in the world. Between the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Syria) [ISIS/ISIL and now IS], the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Boko Haram and the renegade gunmen claiming allegiance to the al-Qaeda in Yemen that shot the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, the world seems to have exploded in a frenzy of Islamic ideology-fuelled killing.


'Journey to the West' is a Chinese classic on the 7th century legendary pilgrimage of monk Xuanzang or Hiuen Tsang to the West i.e. India. This was the period of Tang Dynasty in China and Harsha Vardhana in India. By the Chinese monk's accounts, India was a prosperous society and a major centre of learning, culture and arts. However, in modern times, Indians have a deep rooted suspicion of the Chinese who in turn have an attitude of indifference towards India.

  The original al-Qaeda is in retreat but other movements like ISIS and al- Qaeda offshoots have taken centre stage to wage holy war against “infidels.” This scenario was probably not on Mr. President Bush Jr.'s mind when he chose to make war in Afghanistan and the disastrous campaign in Iraq later in 2003. 

 No woman has ever been elected Secretary-General so far and, in these days of gender balance and empowerment of women, the U.N. cannot overlook this fact. Equally sacrosanct is geographical rotation, which is at the centre of selection of personnel at all levels. Competence is often sacrificed at the altar of regional distribution


The polarisation achieved by Islamist radicals is in fact matched by the marginalisation of Muslims on account of a radical secularism sans sensitivity towards a besieged minority.


Thousands of demonstrators have used the hash tag Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie) on the streets of Paris and other European cities to show their solidarity with the fallen cartoonists who were most brutally murdered on January 7 by  Islamic fundamentalists.


Despite its claim of responsibility, there's a lot that isn't publicly known about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's connection to last week's by Cherif and Said Kouachi in Paris.


Charlie Hebdo will print 3 million copies of a special issue of the satirical magazine, depicting the Prophet Muhammad on the cover, a week after an attack at its headquarters left a third of its journalists dead.


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