As long as people are uptight about their own religion, WHICHEVER religion, this is bound to happen.
When some non-Indian friends make fun of certain aspects of Hinduism, I laugh with them if it is funny. If it is not funny, I ignore or correct but usually I don’t care.
Hinduism does not represent who I am. I am not identified by my religion. I am not a representative of Hinduism. To me, religion is just a collection of prayers, of rituals, of a way to worship God, nothing more.
I am identified by the goodness of my thoughts and deeds, by what and how I do, what I produce and achieve. That is what I wish to be identified by, not by my religion or caste or class or race.
That is why I will never murder people for drawing cartoons of my faith or my God. They can insult, mock, ridicule my religion or any religion all they want. But please, my only request is, please make it funny and clever, so I can at least laugh about it. Go ahead, knock yourself out. I love humor.
The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, set by the Constituent Assembly of 1789, defines ‘liberty’ as: “Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: Thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.”
Freedom of speech also includes the freedom to lie, to insult, to cause outrage and the freedom to offend. Recipients of the insult and everybody else who feels like a stakeholder is free to condemn and counter that with their own.
So, to all the religious bigots in France and all over the world who are so outraged over people drawing cartoons or ridiculing your religion in any other way, please feel free to insult them back, condemn them, and lie expansively about their religion. Do not hesitate to insult their Gods and make cartoons of them. Go ahead, let your creative juices flow, curse them in the most colorful language you can think of, abuse them till they blush and go red in the face.
But that is all you are free to do, that is where your freedom ends.
Because, what you are not free to do is to incite, instigate, initiate or perpetrate violence against a person or persons and against public or private property. Leave alone kill somebody or bomb places for drawing cartoons.
As an alternative, I would also highly recommend that you join them in drawing cartoons of your own religion and have a good laugh over a beer with them. Remember, if you don’t laugh at yourself, people will do the laughing for you.
If you are not good at drawing cartoons, then look at your religion and make sure you remove or condemn whatever makes it so ‘cartoonable.’
If nothing of the above appeals to you, go take a walk……….to the nearest mental asylum. You may find saner people there for inspiration!