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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

15 January 2015: Tim Concannon, Parishioner St Laurence Catholic Church

Nous sommes Charlie

‘Nous sommes Charlie’ is what many people are saying at the moment. Even the satirical cartoon strip “Jesus and Mo” has a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed holding up a banner together saying exactly that. Some find such cartoons offensive, but that can never be an excuse to kill the cartoonist. After all, as one commentator said, if God, the creator of the Universe, is so weak that he cannot cope with a few overgrown schoolboys, he can't be that great can he?

Yasr Qadi, a prominent Muslim commentator, denouncing the killings said “we have constructed a do-it-yourself version of Islam… we have made our religion about smearing others, hating others, killing others… and in the process forgotten that our primary job is the worship of God… so that others love us for our good, not fear us for our evil. And in all of that we have lost so many of the essentials of Islam: mercy, compassion, knowledge, good
manners, forbearance… the list goes on and on.”

And so they have. What they have actually done is give much wider publicity to the offending cartoons that they ever had before. That is the law of unintended consequences.

It is also an illustration of the ultimate futility of evil. They wanted to stop irreverent depictions of the Prophet, and all they have done is encourage more. Surely the better response is that of the old Catholic hymn to Mary, mother of Jesus, “when wicked men blaspheme thee, I’ll love and bless your name.”

So today, perhaps we can remember to ‘do our bit’ and maybe say a prayer for those deluded souls who believed that they were doing the will of their God by carrying out their murderous attacks. To punish in God’s name would be the ultimate blasphemy.


The Service for Christian Unity, which marks the beginning of the Week of Christian Unity and also the installation of Rev'd Will Hughes as the Chairman of PACT for 2015 takes place on Sunday 18 January at 4:30 pm in St Peter's. Download a booklet providing a series of Bible studies for Christian Unity.

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