Sir, Pope Francis’s prudent thinking, coherence, cogency and words regarding freedom of expression carry weight especially in light of the republication of offensive cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.
Pope Francis remains a constant source of inspiration and moral guidance for Christians around the globe and therefore it is commendable for him to try to tackle some of the complex and urgent political, social, humanitarian and moral issues that confront the world in the 21st century. We can never win the war on terror unless we realise that one casualty is one too many and unless we garner the resolve to belong to each other. It is cynical that while political and social freedoms and democracy are valuable everywhere; they are being hunted and violated nearly everywhere too.
The situation here in the Middle East is on the verge of explosion and while world leaders have united in Paris against the menace of terrorism; they remain mute spectators to the persistent killing of innocent civilians, to the mass home demolitions, tortures, massacres and the ruthless suppression of linguistic, cultural, traditional and historic identity and the abhorrent circumstances of millions of refugees scattered in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, etc languishing in squalid and sprawling displacement camps under inclement weather conditions and to the widening chasm between poor and rich within and between countries.
The freedom to insult faiths can only accentuate these societal ills and fans the flames of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and send the wrong message to the public that followers of divine faiths are terrorists. World leaders have a solemn responsibility to condemn terror and strive to improve the health of citizens everywhere and assert the salient fact that terrorism has no religion, class or creed.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob