Saturday 25 May 2019

New Charlie Hebdo cover is ‘warfare’, warns abbot

Benedictine monk Dom Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, County Limerick, Ireland.
Photograph Brian Gavin/Press 22
Benedictine monk Dom Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey, County Limerick, Ireland. Photograph Brian Gavin/Press 22

Emile Laurec

The abbot of Glenstal Abbey described the publication of another cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the cover of Charlie Hebdo as "dangerous" and warned it should expect a "backlash".

Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman was speaking about the terrorist attacks in Paris last week which claimed 17 innocent lives, including some of France's best-known cartoonists.

The cover of the most recent 'Charlie Hebdo' features a tearful Mohammed, holding a 'Je Suis Charlie' sign, with a tagline that says 'Tout est pardonne', or 'All is forgiven'.

But Abbot Hederman said: "It's not a very appropriate moment to be having cartoons.

Blazing

"Nothing can excuse what happened in their offices (but the cartoonists) are now coming back in an exaggerated fashion to say: 'We are not going to be bullied or put down by anybody.'

"We are now into a warfare between the people who believe everything should be allowed under freedom of speech and expression and then the others who are saying if you publish anything against us, you are going to be shot.

"It's like two people backed into two corners and both coming out with all guns blazing - the battle of the OK Corral."

He said: "France loves (their) freedom more than anything else and they are inclined to go over the top. It's very insensitive at this time to be producing all these cartoons. I know that for the French, liberté and égalité is their flag, but this time it seems to me to be imprudent."

However, he said no image or religion of any kind should permit violence.

"It's always a small group of people who use religion for their own purposes that perpetrate violence, it's nothing to do with the actual religion, and to condemn Muslims for this is wrong." Meanwhile, Pope Francis, on the papal flight to the Philippines yesterday, spoke to journalists about the 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre. Religious freedom and freedom of expression, he said, are fundamental human rights. But they are not total liberties. "There is a limit," he said. "Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person."

He also condemned the Paris violence. "One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one's own religion, that is, in the name of God. To kill in the name of God is an aberration." See World News 24-26

Irish Independent

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