‘Not Charlie’ and ‘Charlie’ – but Both Saddened

Sheikh Moussa Drammeh (Screen shot from Independent Sources)

Sheikh Moussa Drammeh (Screen shot from Independent Sources)

Gambian-born Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, who has offered space at his Islamic Cultural Center in Parkchester to members of the Orthodox Jewish community, expressed his sadness over the killings in Paris in an editorial in the Muslim Community Report, of which he is publisher.

Commenting directly on the rally held in Paris on Jan. 11 commemorating those who died at the hands of terrorists, he wrote:

The world leaders’ visible anger towards the coward savages make you believe something will finally be done to end this once and for all, only to realize the opposition waiting for any meaningful solution. The evil may hide behind a religion, but the reality is that evil has no religion, and no religion must be blamed for the devilish actions of evil individuals hiding behind it.

He continued:

As long as we give criminals more rights than their victims, in the name of protecting their civil rights, we will continue to be victimized. Common sense policies to deny criminals their ability to terrorize others are not violation of anyone’s civil rights. Muslims are not responsible for criminals acts committed by savages who are protected by those who feel they are victims of everything in heaven and earth.

Sheikh Drammeh concluded:

It saddens me even more to see hardworking innocent French families who happen to be Jewish providing kosher products, primarily for Jews and Muslim faithful, who hired Muslim workers be targeted. This barbaric act should never pin Muslims against Jews or vice versa. My condolences to all innocent souls violated.

While I’m not Charlie, I will defend his God given right to live and pursue his personal choices.

In Brooklyn, meanwhile, Richard Borge, a professor at the Pratt Institute in Fort Greene, was one of many artists who were inspired to show their feelings about the killings at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical publication. Heather Chin in Fort Greene Focus writes what Borge had to say about his drawing:

Drawing by Richard Borge

Drawing by Richard Borge

“It seems like a tangled mess — that’s where the tangle came from — but out of it, people are coming together,” explained Borge of his inspiration. “I think it’s kind of open to interpretation, but that was my thinking behind it.”

As a teacher, Borge has seen his students use their art and themselves to express solidarity with protestors in Hong Kong and New York City of late, and he recognizes that need “to make a difference.”

“I grew up with free speech [and] a lot of magazines, when they have bite to it, I really appreciate those articles because maybe we’ll raise awareness,” he said. “We live in a society where we have free speech and don’t have to think about it that much, but not everyone is that fortunate.

“I guess I just feel a kinship to these people who have been killed. They were just writers and artists doing not much different from what I do on a daily basis and they get killed for it, so I felt a need to say something — to just put one more picture out there in the flood of images that I’m seeing all over online, which are very powerful.”

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