Երեքշաբթի, 21. 05. 2024

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Charlie Hebdo attack infringement on freedom of speech – Armenian experts

Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech, Arabist Hayk Kocharyan and Chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan condemn the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo editorial office and believe it to be an infringement on freedom of speech.

“Of course, it is an infringement on not only freedom of speech, but also on democratic freedoms. It is most important that France’s authorities identify the perpetrators of the heinous crime and punish them,” Mr Melikyan told Tert.am.

Although a caricature of Muhammad could be viewed as controversial, one of any other person could not be considered an insult.

“By resorting to such steps, the terrorists do not actually consider themselves part of the civilized world. Human life is the greatest value in the civilized world, but they committed that act without stopping at anything. The journalistic community and the entire world must condemn that step,” he said.

According to Arabist Hayk Kocharyan, European Muslims are trying to show that the terrorist act has nothing in common with Islam.

“Extreme manifestations of Islam do not show high percentage in Europe if we consider the number of Muslims in Europe – ten to 20 percent,” Mr Kocharyan said.

“It was a terrorist act. The Charlie Hebdo attack is an instance of the sides being unable to find common ground. The investigation is supposed to identify the persons behind the attack. They may be Muslims or Islamic extremists or even not Muslims. Of course, it is Islamic extremists that are the first to be suspected, but it may be groups as well,” he added.

Mr Kocharyan expects different periodicals to organize actions or a join action.

“Since terrorist is aimed at threatening freedom of speech, actions are likely to take place.”

With respect to possible further developments, Mr Kocharyan said that different media outlets will try to show it was a terrorist act, but the perpetrators’ religion is of no importance.

Chairman of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia Avetik Ishkhanyan points out three key factors.

“The first is religious fundamentalism, with the two other factors stemming from it. Any fundamentalism – humanitarian or ideological – results in restrictions on freedom of speech, violence and terror.”
This is intolerance to a different opinion.

“If we consider Europe, we should remember that people could be subjected to torture for refusing to accept certain Christian dogmas. In speaking of present-day European values, freedom of speech, we should realize that it means making the state a secular one, which implies caricatures and humor,” Mr Ishkhanyan said.

According to him, the terrorist act in Paris is a test for the civilized world.

www.tert.am

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