Religious fidelity and free speech can learn the art of coexistence despite the acerbic challenges that have flowed from the terrible Paris shootings and the arguments about Charlie Hebdo magazine, says Ekklesia associate and Middle East analyst Dr Harry Hagopian. The much harder – and harsher – question is whether we as followers of a religion or as advocates of free speech can coexist too?
This year (2015), Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US falls on 19 January – the third Monday of the month. It is an observance which is gaining traction in other parts of the world, too, where the legacy of the civil rights campaigner and Baptist minister is an an iconic symbol of freedom for people of both religious and other belief the world over.
Twelve people were murdered yesterday (7 January) in an appalling attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This has inflamed religious and ethnic tensions, as the killers are believed to be violent Islamist extremists.
The UK government may limit free speech for law-abiding members of minority communities in order to defend British values such as free speech and respect for minorities, home secretary Theresa May has threatened.
The UK government is seeking to rush a new law through Parliament which would heavily limit action on political and social issues in the twelve months before an election. This threat to basic freedoms could have drastic consequences.