Yet another barbaric killing in the name of Islam. The beheading of a teacher in the outskirts of Paris last Friday is nerve chilling – so inhuman, cruel and un-Islamic. If the killer had thought he was doing a great service to Islam or he was expressing his extreme love for Prophet Mohammed for showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed to students, he was either misguided, brainwashed or totally ignorant of Islam. He probably had passion for Islam without actually understanding Islam.

We, normal Muslim world, out rightly reject, condemn and denounce this heinous killing. Whatever reason the killer had to justify his devilish deed, there is no justification to take out a human life, whatsoever. If some people thought Islamic teachings guided this young killer to kill the teacher for showing the Prophet of Islam in bad light, they are totally wrong. Let me make it very clear that Islam never preaches killing except in case of self-defense and to protect destruction of property. Even if someone kills someone, the murderer can be eliminated only after a due process of law, this is Islam. Everything else is insanity, madness.

My purpose of writing this article is not to separate and abandon the Muslim killer from Islam and claim innocence. Muslim Ummah (brotherhood) cannot simply do this, all have a collective responsibility. Islam teaches the believers to love Prophet Mohammed more than anything else, even more than one’s own parents but never directly or indirectly suggests when such a Prophet is defamed get into violence. It is human nature that when loved one is abused, he/she gets enraged but in Islam there is no scope for any violent retaliation. Quran specifically prohibits taking revenge or retaliation even when Allah is abused or defamed.

A true follower of Islam will understand that Allah or Prophet Mohammed cannot be defamed by any human deed or word. Probably the Islamic world, when teaching to love Prophet, has failed to teach his followers enough that love does not include turning violent when their loved one is abused or defamed. We need to be more vociferous in teaching that violence and crime to protect the image of Prophet is indeed hate and is a crime against humanity. To this end, I feel, we Muslims have failed to convey the right message to our kids and youths. I own up the moral responsibility. I extend an unconditional apology to the family of the killed teacher.

Now coming to freedom of speech. France is a country which provides maximum freedom of speech to its citizens, it is protected by the 1789 Declaration of Human and Civic Rights. Even though the French Constitution considers free speech as an essential part of a free democratic society, it doesn’t consider free speech as an absolute right. I do not believe in absolute freedom of speech, in fact, there cannot be absolute freedom of speech anywhere in the world. My elementary teacher had given a perfect example of why there cannot be absolute freedom of speech. I come from an area where arecanut fields are common scene, even small households will have a few arecanut plants. These plants grow tall and planted in equal distance. My teacher explained, I remember even now so vividly : “May be your own areca garden and you have full right to walk in the garden waving your both hands the way you want but remember, your hands may hit your own plants and you may get hurt”. There cannot be another better example to explain why there can’t be absolute freedom of speech in the world. Your full freedom of speech too should be bound by its own boundaries – do not try to transgress that boundary.

Even the French Constitution limits the freedom of speech to protecting public order, protecting public from defaming and insults. It is illegal to incite others to commit a crime in France. When the French law is so clear about the limitation of freedom of speech, why did the teacher took the extreme step of showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed to the students in the class? It is reported that Muslim students of his class were asked to walk out from the class before he showed the cartoons saying it may hurt those Muslim students. When the teacher knew it will hurt the Muslim students, what was the need of showing these cartoons? Wasn’t there anything else available to illustrate freedom of speech to students? Didn’t the teacher know that these cartoons have already become a controversy in France and a sensitive issue? What was the real intention of showing these cartoons? Isn’t the teacher also responsible for his own death by inciting some? I am in no way condoning or defending the crimes of a murderer but we need to realize that there is no absolute freedom of speech.

We need to strike a balance between our freedom and others’ freedom. Enjoy freedom to the full without inciting others. Maintaining an equilibrium in the world is everybody’s responsibility. To my Muslim brothers and sisters – we are already into the month of Rabiul Awwal, the sacred month in which Prophet Mohammed was born. It is custom to recapitulate the life and teachings of Prophet Mohammed in this month. Let us have a relook into his life as to how he reacted when he was insulted and abused both physically and orally during his life time. Let us inculcate some of his beautiful life examples into our life and try to make this world a better world. 

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday observed that no student above the age of 18 years, teachers, and staff can be allowed to attend schools and colleges unless they have received at least one jab of the COVID vaccine.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum was hearing a PIL filed by Mangaluru doctor Srinivas B Kakkilaya and others. The bench dismissed the PIL and said at least one dose of the COVID vaccine should be mandatorily taken by those attending schools and colleges.

The PIL had claimed that the circular issued by the state government on July 16, 2021, making vaccination mandatory in nature was in violation of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

It had also added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has maintained that the vaccination does not prevent the spread of the virus hence has little potential of stopping the pandemic.

According to the petitioners, such discrimination based on unreasonable classification, such as status of vaccination of an individual, is curbing the rights to practice any profession. The petitioners further claimed that the circular violates the dictum of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Vs Union of India (2018) case which recognized the right, choice, and liberty of an individual to prefer the medicine of his/ her choice.

“We are of the considered view that no student, teacher or staff who have not received vaccines shall be permitted to attend the school or college, where the students gather in large numbers and risk them. As such no directions can be issued to permit such teachers, students, or staff who have not received at least one dose of vaccine to attend colleges in terms GO dated July 16, 2021,” the court said.