Reprinting of Prophet Muhammad cartoon gratuitously offensive

27th Feb 2015

Sir, Like you, I was appalled by the dreadful attack on the Parish office of Charlie Hebdo. But I am also deeply sorry for the way the magazine then “chose to pour more scorn on their beloved Prophet Muhammad(S) when printing yet another abusive caricature on the cover”, to quote your excellent editorial. This was gratuitously offensive and inevitably not only caused offence to many Muslims but also seems to increased violence and nurtured Islamophobia. I write as a committed Christian. I am an ordained minister.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that the love of God is big enough to include us all, and his ways of working are far bigger and more inclusive and loving than we can imagine. Muslims, Christians, Jews, people of all faiths and none – we are all children of God and called to serve him by building just and loving families, communities and nations. I started an education and skills training project 10 years ago in Afghanistan and I have immeasurable admiration, respect and love for those courageous young Afghan people – all Muslim. Of course, I see God at work in the way they live, work and serve. I am involved in setting up a school in East London. Of course it will include young people of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures – what an exciting and world-shaping prospect.

I am a local parish priest, and preached in my church on what I understand, from my Muslim friends and from extensive research, to be the proper meanings of Shari’a and jihad. I have never had so many comments – all positive – after the service. In our struggle for justice, practice of love and search for truth, Christians and Muslims need to find more ways to express our togetherness.

Thank you for your profound and well written editorial.

Yours,
Chris Beales
Online submission

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