No: 15145| Wednesday, November 04, 2020| 6:05 PM| Visit: 320

In the wake of recent insults against Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), a number of legal scholars, scientists and religious leaders in a letter referred to background of France with regard crimes against humanity, violent suppression and also its regulations regarding sacrilege and promotion of hatred and urged the international bodies to enact laws to prevent disrespect to prophets, divine religions and their followers.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
 
In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

Honorable thinkers, scholars, intellectuals and broad-minded people of the world, particularly the honorable French nation

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The key to a healthy democracy lies in respecting human beings. If any behavior leads to disrespect, discrimination and hatred against human beings, whether under the pretext of advocacy of freedom or democracy or through bullying and dictatorial methods, such an act is against the freedom of human beings. Democracy is not compatible with the double-standard of violence against one community while tolerating another one. Disrespect of the Holy Prophet of Islam is tantamount to disrespect of all the divine prophets and of the entire human society and is also a source of resentment for the global Muslim community. The inevitable consequence of such actions will be a rise in the atmosphere of hate, dissension and bitterness. As a matter of fact, based on rational principles, human beings do not have any other alternative than returning to the message of God, which is the true law for a healthy life. The minimum requirement for its materialization is protection of respect for human society as well as recognition of human beings and humanity as the masterpiece of creation.
Today, we are living in such circumstances in which neglect of the scope of oppression and neglect of others is increasing exponentially, and, where injustice, discrimination and hatemongering are rampant.
France, with its Eurocentric approach, has been a source of grave mistakes in history. These have led to captivity of human beings, plundering of others’ wealth, pogroms, and forceful domination of peoples in various parts of the world. In sum, this approach has paved the way for trampling on human rights, freedom and the broad-mindedness present in human society. Today, too, following the same method and approach leading to double-standards, Paris has caused an enlargement of the circle of hate, social confrontation, and injuring of the feelings of a great community of about two billion people.
Efforts to divide the followers of the divine religions through Islamophobia is an American and French fundamentalist-ideological tradition, whose manifestations today are seen in the segregation of the Muslim community from non-Muslims, horrific labeling, unemployment, social discrimination as well as ruthless police measures deployed against them.
The French government is the last one to be entitled to lecture the world about the protection of human rights, freedom of expression and democracy. The history of this country is replete with crimes against humanity, genocide, massacre and violent suppression. The following list is only a part of these crimes that have occurred only in the twentieth century:
1 – 1940s: During the anticolonial struggles in Algeria in 1940s, the French government massacred more than one million Algerian people, injured and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless or missing. Systemic violence against Algerians, along with the massacre of Setif and Guelma in 1945 and 1962 in which 30,000 Muslims were butchered, continued even though Algeria had announced its independence from colonial France.[1] Algeria has suffered cultural genocide at the hands of France since 1830. France has converted many cultural and religious sites in Algeria.[2]
2 – 1947: The Mỹ Trach Massacre (Vietnamese: Thảm sát Mỹ Trạch') was a massacre of Vietnamese civilians carried out by the French army during French rule in Vietnam.[3] The massacre occurred in Mỹ Trạch village, Mỹ Thủy commune, Vietnam on 29 November 1947. In this operation, 326 houses were burnt. Many women were raped by the French soldiers before being killed. Over 300 civilian residents were killed, of whom 170 were women and 157 were children. Many entire families were slaughtered.[4]
3 - 1961: French police murdered more than 200 Algerians in Paris during protests on October 17, 1961 and drowned more than three hundred of them in Seine River.[5]
4 – 1994: By donating huge weapons and military training to Juvénal Habyarimana troops in a proxy genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the French government massacred about 800 thousand Rwandans in three months. Although the 400-page official report prepared by Rwandan Commission[6] and published in 2007 by the present of Rwandan President Paul Kagame proves that “the French soldiers were directly involved in terrorizing and killing of Tutsis and Hutus” and that “the French forces in several cases raped the Tutsi survivals”[7], the French officials not only did not apologize[8] but Alain Marie Juppé, the French Foreign Minister of the time of genocide, called judicial prosecution of this genocide a “re-writing of history”.[9] 

Honorable Researchers, Respected Scholars
Throughout its colonial occupation, particularly in Africa, France violated human rights time and again. Through its colonial occupation in 1524, France dominated more than 20 countries in West and North Africa. In fact, for 300 years, about 35 percent of this continent was under the occupation of France. Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Benin during those years were the center of the slave trade and the entire resources of that region were exploited by the French. During that period, any liberation efforts were confronted with harsh suppression, causing the deaths of more than two million Africans.
France, in its laws on protection of human rights, including opposition to racism, hatemongering and discrimination, has passed certain laws that are the very basis for condemnation of desecration of religious sanctities:
1 – The French Constitution incorporates the Declaration of Human and Civic Rights  of 1789 that prohibits abuse of liberty. This has been also incorporated into Civil and Penal Laws. This law prohibits citizens from defaming or disrespecting other individuals and groups because of their religions, ethnicity, nationality, race, etc.
2 – Besides the said rules, Articles 24, 32 and 33 of the Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881 also deal with freedom of speech. Article 24 of the 1881 Act imposes criminal penalties on "those who, by one of the means set forth at Article 23,[10] incite hatred or violence against a person or group of persons on account of their origin or membership or non-membership of a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion, or his true or supposed sexual orientation or gender identity ". Libel is not protected by freedom of speech (Law of 1881, art. 29). [11]
2 - In addition to the above laws, France is party to the International Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which came into force on 27 August 1971. Someone who is found guilty of libel may not only have to pay damages to the victim, but may also have to pay a fine under article 32 of the Law of 1881.  This fine can be up to 45,000 Euros if the libel was committed because the victim is a member of a certain ethnic group, nation, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or identity, or holds disability status.  Hate speech also may be punished by a fine and imprisonment.[12] 
3 - The legislation is carried further with the Act of 1 July 1972 (la lutte contre le racisme), and with amendments to the Criminal Code, prohibiting racist group activities.[13]
4 - Also the law on hate speech of May 13, 2020 prohibits online hate speeches.
Nevertheless, it is clear that continuous hatemongering and disrespect by Charlie Hebdo weekly against Islam, the Holy Prophet of Islam, as well as the affirmative reaction of the French President to this disrespectful act, in violation of the above laws, not only are not prosecuted by law, but are wrongly and grudgingly interpreted as freedom of speech. In contrast, any support for the oppressed Palestinian people, or, any attempt to condemn the Zionist apartheid, or, any question raised about the reasons for the support lent to horrific crimes of this child-homicidal regime, are immediately prosecuted leading to the harshest penalties. On the one hand, we observe that disrespect of Judaism and the Jews, who constitute About 600 thousand people in France and about 15 million in the world, is an illegal act giving rise to penal and criminal penalties. Even Loi Gayssot (July 13, 1990) has been approved in France prohibiting anyone from casting any doubts about the Holocaust. On the other hand, Islam as the last divine religion and the Holy Prophet of Islam as the Seal of Divine Prophets, and the Muslim population of two-billion strength are subject to massive disrespect, discriminations, and harassment. At the same time, Muslims are under pressure from Islamophobia and are threatened by war and massacre, without even an eyebrow being raised by the authorities. Islam and true Muslims do not approve of any disrespect of any divine religion, in general, and consider any disrespect of the values of nations undesirable and don’t see any differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam in this regard.
France’s Eurocentric and egocentric approach has caused historical and oppressive collusion among colonialists, either in Europe, with its black history replete with horrific crimes, or, in Apartheid-stricken Africa, or in occupied Palestine by Zionist Apartheid.
It seems that today France has not learned the necessary lessons from its own colonial history and once again is following the bitter and hateful paths in which new human tragedies can germinate. Anyway, an analysis of the trends and reactions strengthen the idea that the French Government has intentionally planned this undesirable behavior to boost retaliatory reactions that may be misused as an excuse for more suppression of its religious and ethnic minorities. However, such governments must bear in mind that the strengthening of the atmosphere of hate is a very dangerous act that could prepare the ground for a massive conflict at the global level.
In conclusion, it is emphasized that today we make a distinction between the French government and the respectful French people and the justice-seekers of France. Considering the seriousness of the issue, we advise the benevolent people of France to try to correct the wrongs and stop widespread discrimination against Muslims and not to allow the competition for power to be turned into a source of oppression and injustice against the already downtrodden Muslims of France.
Through dissemination of information among all thinkers, intellectuals and broad-minded people of France and those of the world, we strongly remind the French government that the responsibility of the occurrence of any tragedy whose horrific consequences would not be limited to any religion, race or ethnicity, will directly and entirely rest with the French Government. It is necessary to apologize for the disrespect of Prophet Mohammad, shut down the hate magazines and punish the hatemongering individuals through penal and criminal laws.
 
Honorable Religious Leaders, Distinguished Intellectuals and Concerned Scholars of the World

We, the authors of this letter, firmly believe that paying attention to the past fundamental mistakes of France and her ideological extremism is a suitable basis for the scholars, broad-minded people of the world and those of France to find the appropriate paths for interaction with a view to putting the crises behind us and stamp out at root discriminatory and biased thoughts.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the honorable Secretary General of the United Nations Organization and the International Court of Justice at The Hague are requested to react to the actions that cause spread of hate and violations of human rights, whose foundation is respect for cultural and social values; they are also requested to provide for the enactment of some laws to prevent disrespect for the prophets, divine religions and the followers of the divine religions and stipulate some legal penalties for their violation.

We call on the world’s religious leaders, particularly those of the world of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, to rely on exchanges of views to prevent the interreligious, ethic and racial confrontations and conflicts that cause oppression and injustice and enlarge the circle of hate, and, to not allow the fundamentalist racists to trample on human rights.
At a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the lives of a great number of people and endangered lives and is spreading stress and anxiety everywhere, we recommend that the French President Mr. Emanuel Macron confront the acts that lead to disrespect of the Holy Prophet of Islam.

Names of signatories:

Matran Ataollah Hana, Patriarch of the Sebastia Orthodox Church


Dr. Fozi Alawi, Chairman of the Masarat Center for Philosophical and Humanities Studies and Professor of Al-Zaytoonah University of Tunisia


Ms. Mubarakah Al-Barahami, Member of the Tunisian People’s Front and Former Member of the Parliaments


Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, Chairman of the Iranian Seminaries


Ayatollah Reza Ramezani, Sevretary General of the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly


Hojjat al-Islam Dr. Hamid Parsania, Member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution


Prof. Saied Reza Ameli, Secretary of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution


Hojjat al-Islam Hamid Shahriari, secretary general of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought


Dr. Abuzar Ebrahimi Torkoman, Chairman of Islamic Culture and Communications Organization


Allameh Sheikh Hassan Baghdadi, Member of the Central Council of Lebanese Hezbollah


Sheikh Khalid Abdulwahhab Al-Mala’, President of the Iraqi Ulema Association


Dr. Sameh Yah, Chairman of the Jewish Association of Tehran and Member of the Parliament


Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Diocese of the Armenian Prelacy of Tehran
Rev. Vanya Sargiz, Diocese of the Catholic Assyrians of Tehran


Bishop Mar Narsai Benjamine, Bishop of the Apostolic Catholic Assyrians of East Iran


Dr. Hossein Kachuian, University Prof. and Member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution


Sayyid Abdulqadir Bahjat Al-Alusi, Chairman of the Council of Ulema of the Council of Mohammadi League of Iraq


Dr, Emad Afrough, University Professor


Sheikh Abdullah Jabri, Secretary General of Lebanon’s Al-Ummah Movement


Al-Sheikh Zouhair Jeaid, Coordinator of the Islamic Action Front of Lebanon


Dr. Monsignor Antoine, Secretary General of Christian-Muslim Episcopal Committee for Dialogue


Mufti Jafari Mumtaz Sheikh Ahmad Qabalan, Lebanon


Dr. Masoud Shajareh, Managing Director of Islamic Human Rights Commission


Sando Hira, Manager Decolonial International Network


Imam Muhammad Al-Asi, Imam of the Islamic Center of Washington


Bishop Davidian, Chief of Armenian Catholic Diocese of Tehran


Dr. Khorshidian, President of the Tehran Zoroastrian Mobeds Association


Dr. Hamami Lalehzar, the Religious Leader of the Iranian Jews


Mohi al-Din Abdulqadir, Manager of the Institute of Citizen International
 

[3] Thảm sát Mỹ Trạch
[10] ARTICLE 23 states: speeches, shouts or threats expressed in public places or meetings, or by written words, printed matter, drawings, engravings, paintings, emblems, pictures or any other written, spoken or pictorial aid, sold or distributed, offered for sale or displayed in public places or meetings, either by posters or notices displayed for public view, or by any means of electronic communication.
[11] https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2015/03/falqs-freedom-of-speech-in-france/
[12] https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2015/03/falqs-freedom-of-speech-in-france/

 

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