Charlie Hebdo – “Curse My Mother, Expect A Punch!”: Flawed Analogy, Pope!

Charlie Hebdo – “Curse My Mother, Expect A Punch!”: Flawed Analogy, Pope! January 16, 2015

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, indeed the very definition of freedom of speech is being discussed and debated ferociously! Should freedom of speech include the right to insult and demean ideas and symbols people hold dear? Some insist that the very concept of freedom of speech includes the freedom to offend, while others maintain that needless & provocative speech that hurts others should, in no way, be tolerated.

In what appears to be a battle of ideas, Pope Francis has recently come out, siding with the latter opinion. On his way to Philippines, he commented that:

“One cannot react violently, but if (someone) says something bad about my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s to be expected.”

“There are a lot of people who speak badly about other religions. They make fun of them. What happens is what happens with my friend (who insults my mother). There is a limit.”

To be fair, I understand and appreciate where he is coming from. Indeed, his call for mutual respect is to be lauded! I also maintain that difference of opinion should be tackled in a reasonable & fair way, and that freedom of speech comes with a huge responsibility.

However, as much as I admire the otherwise progressive stance of Pope Francis, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the analogy he’s trying to present here. Make no mistake about it; this is the same line of reasoning that blames a rape victim (at least, partially) for wearing “provocative” clothes.

“She must’ve dressed inappropriately!”

All the while, ignoring the fundamental aspect that rape is about power, the urge to control, not sex per se.

Similarly, implying that there is a “limit”, which, if crossed, would unleash fanatics who would murder those that offend their religious sentiments, is, in a way, justifying their very presence. Their presence shouldn’t be taken for granted at all, rather we must devote our energies to getting rid of this twisted interpretation of Islam that these people subscribe to.

Furthermore, I am appalled that Pope Francis would justify hitting someone in response to an insult. Words, after all, should only be met with words – or by simply ignoring the remark. A slip of tongue, perhaps? I would certainly hope so!

Coming to the very idea of freedom of speech, I think the vital point to understand is that in a society where people are free to speak whatever they may wish, people are going to be offended. After all, people could take offence over literally anything! How far are we ready to curb (ironically) freedom of speech, then?

You see, a close minded person takes offense easily. The reality is, most religious people, at least in my experience, have a very superficial understanding of the religion they hold dear. Thus, with practically no tools (read: knowledge) to defend the very thing they hold dear, they resort to violence as a last resort to maintain their identity.

When I saw the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, mocking Prophet Mohammad, I felt no rage – no desire to persecute these cartoonists. Some of my coreligionists might tell you that I maybe weak in faith, that perhaps I am a “nominal” Muslim. After all, what else could explain such a resigned attitude? Yes, I simply do not care. Not because I don’t respect or admire Prophet Mohammad, but because I do.

Instead of going berserk over these cartoons, I chose to simply ignore them. Why, that is how Prophet Mohammad would respond, too!

“And be patient over whatever they say, and depart from them in a gracious manner.” Quran, 73:10


So, dear Pope, I hope you realize that the solution is not to curb freedom of speech, but to promote tolerance & spiritual maturity.


Why must we be bothered about how others are portraying Prophet Mohammad?

The real question is, how are we, Muslims, portraying him and his message?

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  • El Cid

    There is NO freedom of speech in any country. It is all relative. They all have their limits and repertory of methods and manners of punishment, reprimand and retaliation.

  • Ismail A Moola

    Hi mike3 for a better understanding of 5:33 read 5:32 first or better still read a more comprehensive analysis at
    Context is all important and I am really surprised that you are quoting without taking into account context just as many Islamophobes do. (Please note the message – I am not calling you an Islamophobe!)

  • “Who sees me has seen the Father” – Filip!

    are met before the prophet Jesus and his mother Mary, but the Prophet
    Muhammad, and only through Jesus Christ, we come to God, because God
    does not need my man to destroy his’s enemies, because how would it then
    be my God to ask for my help? “Indeed, you are not a hidden God!” So we can and must cry out to me, Christians, who believe in Jesus Christ. What
    Jesus said to Philip, and tells us, speaks to all people, all
    generations: Indeed, on the face of Jesus we see the face of God. He is the very grammar of our God, in him is orisava the face of God, the very image of our God. He imago Dei, he imprint of God’s creatures and be. It is God came once among the people. We do not have more to tap in, trying to be reached with God, their reasoning. God is going to meet us in Jesus Christ. It is this unrepeatability Christian gospel poruke.Čujemo continuation of yesterday’s speech of Jesus at the Last Supper. One thing we must be clear, there is no theology without Christology, no Christology without theology. No knowledge of God without the knowledge of Jesus Christ, there is no knowledge of Jesus Christ without the knowledge of God. Jesus clearly says: “No one can Father except through me!” The meaning of Jesus’ coming is the revelation of the Father. The moment of realization of the Father and the Son is here. Not sometime in the future. Here is true. Salvation is happening in the present. No direct revelation of God to aspire mystics. Only through Jesus and in Jesus. In Jesus’ words and speaks and acts, makes God himself. God gave Jesus all the power of attorney. And vice: Only Jesus brings the revelation of God. God has ovjerovio, gave him all the power, the power of attorney. This is the secret revelation of God in Jesus. “Show us the Father, and we have had enough!” – Asks Philip. Jesus manifested works of the Father, Jesus speaks of the Father’s words. He says and does only what he sees the Father doing. He
    is the perfect image of the living God, a reflection of his being, his
    imprint will be, as we read in Colossians and Hebrews. He carries the image of the Father. To us to see in that picture, in that face. Eyes open. And
    we will be transformed into the same image – a figure of the Lord, ‘the
    glory more and more, the power of the Spirit of the Lord “(cf.. 2
    Corinthians 3:18). The man becomes the man to shape what you have in your own eyes, you watch. ‘His idols become like those who make them, “said the Psalmist (Ps 115). And who has Jesus in his eyes, becoming like Jesus, and through Jesus God. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Not
    that God is more an awful thunderer, Zeus does not Jupiter moves and
    features, but it is a loving God, who accepts, which manifested the
    little ones, the weak, the infirm, children. It’s not a God of national exclusivity, only for Jews, but it is the Father of all men. Here as if echoing the word of the Gospel of Matthew: I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 11:25). God as father and mother. Anyone
    who views and who dwell in Jesus, you will experience just that, as God
    paternal and maternal mood and attitude towards man. He is the invisible screen according to which Jesus works. People have experienced just in the person of Jesus release, relief, a new breath of life. The fear disappeared. Who
    in themselves absorb this feature Jesus, Jesus’ attitudes of trust,
    love, Exposure of, will form the mighty works, will do what Jesus did,
    and even greater than Jesus. And this man kristolikost and the image of God enables us to do the works that Jesus did. When
    he went into his glory and his unity with the Father, and of perfect
    divine fullness, the unity of the Father and of the Son, he will train
    their students for the work that will form his disciples. It does not say Jesus that it specifically works. But from the other gospels know the signs, miracles, speaking in
    tongues, the expulsion of unclean forces, the power of preaching the
    Gospel to every creature.
    is enough to turn a few leaves in the New Testament, to draw attention
    to the Acts of the Apostles, and we will see that all the miraculous
    signs the Apostles did in the name of Jesus, and Peter, and John,
    especially Paul, and other heralds of the Good News. It
    was enough just to Peter’s shadow falls on someone patient and healed
    order, or those adventures with Paul in Ephesus, where people have their
    handkerchiefs and napkins touched Paul and were cured. They lived from Christ and the power of the Spirit and therefore are able to transfer that power to those they met. In Paul we regularly find this very strong dimension. He
    does not hesitate to say what it is all Christ did through him, the
    power of the Holy and mighty signs and wonders (Rom 15), he regularly
    speaks about the experience of the Spirit and of faith in the community,
    which is only a continuation of the works of Jesus in the Holy Spirit,
    the Church of Christ after Pentecost. There is going life, going fullness of life. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father, Jesus says. I am the way, the truth and the life. In their proclamation will be working his living word. And whatever the students are done in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – will become reality. And whatever the students will pray in the name of Jesus, to Jesus’ way, it will be them. Will fulfill their wishes. Do we believe in it today?

  • Jesus Christ says: “” who sees me has seen the Father ”

    Muslims are met before the prophet Jesus and his mother Mary before the Prophet Muhammad

  • mike3

    yeah 5:32 is almost as bad as 5:33. actually I usually group them. they both say to kill for ‘spreading corruption’ or sometimes translated as mischief. and the context preceding 5:32, I’m assuming you are emphasizing the “killing one innocent person” part, is the story of cain killing abel. but if you continue it says, ‘except for murder or spreading corruption’.
    i’ll check out your link.

  • mike3

    seriously? why make an ‘ironic’ verse to the pharaohs? they no longer exist.

  • The Koran claims to be perfectly clear and comprehensible. This list of ayat attesting to the assertion is taken from the website “Answering Muslims”, article “Is Allah The Worst Communicator Ever?”:

    6:114; 11:1; 12:1; 15:1; 16:89; 22:72; 24:1, 34, 46; 26:2; 27:1; 28:2; 36:69; 41:3; 57:9; 65:11

    And yet apparently “90% of Muslims” have gotten some pretty major stuff pretty badly wrong.

    So is Allah a liar? He does claim, at least according to some translations, to be “the best of deceivers”, doesn’t he?

  • Florine Marzook

    The simple answer to this is that the Quran is clear to those who read it with a clear (uncluttered, unbiased) mind & heart. The Quran is the medium through which Allah communicates with His creations and for those who receive His clear messages – it is also the medium through which His creations communicate back to him.
    All of Allah’s creations have been misused and abused – not the way Allah intended, due to the pernicious nature of man – so why not the Quran?
    Allah created man with instinctive ‘firtrah’ – knowledge given to him about all of His creations. But we have moved away from our ‘fitrah’ and the disastrous effects can now be seen.

  • Do you believe that both the Jewish and the Christian scriptures are hopelessly corrupt?

  • Florine Marzook

    I think you would agree with me that since both scriptures are in the third person there is a good chance it is corrupted. Perhaps that’s why the Quran was sent down in a format that could be recorded as a verbatim message from God. And this alone should negate the need for any other discourse.