One of my favourite pieces from German Intensive Course in school is Lessings “Nathan the Wise”. In the plot Sultan Saladin asks Nathan which religion is the “real” one. Nathan answers the question with the worlds famous Ring Parable in which 3 rings symbolize the 3 big monotheist religions of the world. One of the rings is the original, the other 2 nearly identical copies. The owner of the original ring is supposed to be identified by being loved by God and all humans but all 3 ring owners do good deeds and live a good life and therefore all 3 are loved by God and all humans. In the end the owner of the real ring can´t be identified anymore and no one knows how to tell the difference between the real ring and the 2 copies. The Ring Parable symbolizes the possibility of a peaceful and tolerant co-existence of all religions if all believers follow their own religion in a peaceful and proper way.
What happened to this wisdom? Where are today´s Nathans?
The GMX-Homepage greets me with trash-news like “Terror in the name of Allah”. A peaceful co-existence of all religions is as far away as ever. Believers of various religions fight each other daily and that is a huge problem. Another problem is the fact that many conflicts are not happening in the name of a whole religion but because of a few crazy people. Of course it is much easier to put everyone in one pot than to think about the issue in a differentiated way. Therefore a terrorist attack of a few mental extremists suddenly becomes a declaration of war from all Moslem against the West.
Who has to suffer most after the attacks on Paris? Obviously the family members of the victims and the long fought for and highly appreciated freedom of press. Followed closely by members of Moslem faith. They get the weird looks now, once again. They are asked to distance themselves in public from the recent events. I ask myself: Why on earth should they? Why should they distance themselves from something that they never approved of in the first place? The attacks on Paris were not done in the name of Moslem faith but by extremist terrorists. The Moslems are the one´s judging the attacks the most because they are the ones suffering even more from discrimination and intolerance now.
If it´s not the Moslem´s fault, who´s is it then? Are the caricaturists responsible for the death of their colleges? Clearly not. Journalism can and has to be provocative. The right of the freedom of press is not negotiable. Responsible are the one´s who did the attack and no one else.
Although the freedom of press also includes the freedom not to publish everything. It includes the freedom to respect the freedom of religion even if the journalist himself isn´t religious. A week after the attacks “Charlie Hebdo” published a new edition. The headline of the front cover says “Everything is forgiven”. Underneath you see a crying Mohammed who holds a sign saying “Je suis Charlie”.
Now I have to raise the question: Are they out of their minds? Obviously the terror attacks are being connected to a religious group who´s prophet apparently forgave everything. Forgave who? The caricaturists? His religious followers? Or the terrorists?
My grandmother is a practising Christian. She told me that she condemns the attacks and deeply moans for the victims. She also said that she would feel provoked and hurt if she saw a caricature of Jesus published. Is my grandmother a terrorist-sympathist? Of course not. If the same statement was made by a Moslem grandmother things would probably be different...