The Human Test of Violence â€“ Between Honor and Cowardice
We choose the articles for our issues months in advance. It is a sad twist of fate that our January issue features a review of a children's book, "The Grand Mosque of Paris." The book is about Muslims in Paris saving Jews from Nazis in the 1940s â€“ and today history repeats itself as a Muslim employee saved Jewish shoppers from a monstrous killer.
Many similar stories have occurred in history; yet we have to disclose them to show the world that peaceful coexistence is not a dream. It is a must that we take on the good examples of our common past, not the evil ones.
Resorting to violence is not just inhumane; itâ€™s an act of cowardice. Cowards do not have confidence in their beliefs and values â€“ if they even have any beliefs. They cannot face reason and they do not have the courage to meet others. Lost in despair, they choose the easy way â€“ silencing the deafening voice of reason, press, and art by attacking defenseless people. Their despair is so helpless that their first target is in fact their own conscience, for the human soul, as weak as it may be, yearns to keep its innate purity despite all efforts of contamination; and if not yet fully adulterated, its cries of innocence are relentless. Strained by the pressure from two opposing poles â€“ one from the still beating conscience and the other from the presumed false power at the trigger â€“ a coward fails when choosing the latter and that is when he is no different than a violent animal. What a tragic end for a human being, supposedly the most honorable creature of all existence.
We have so much work to do. Sylvia Kauffman in Le Monde suggest one good way to start:
"....Yet we [the French] have been unable to have a rational national conversation about integrating Islam into our core values. If there is a lesson to learn from Salman Rushdieâ€™s â€śSatanic Verses,â€ť from the murder in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh, from the saga of the Muhammad cartoons and from the attack on Charlie Hebdoâ€™s â€śsoldiers of freedom,â€ť it is that radical Islam can only be fought with the support of moderate Islam.
It is a long battle. But we are well- equipped for it, as long as we hold firm to our values. Unbowed. Without taboos. Just like Charlie Hebdo."