Pope speaks out against mocking religion

Olivia Barfield

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The January 7th terrorist attacks on French magazine “Charlie Hebdo” spurred reactions from citizens all over the world, including the Pope.

In a statement about the attacks, Pope Francis said that freedom of speech is a fundamental human right, but that we are not to provoke those of different religious views.

“There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits,” said the Pope.

The Pope’s remarks are in reference to various “Charlie Hebdo” covers that have poked fun of the Prophet Muhammad.

According to Islam faith, the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet sent by God to mankind.

Muhammad is highly revered by Muslims, and they typically avoid un-written depictions of him, meaning that they do not create images of him.

Humorous visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad have been making their way onto “Charlie Hebdo” covers for years, and this is not the first time they’ve been attacked because of them.

In 2011, following a controversial issue of the magazine that portrayed Muhammad on the cover, the “Charlie Hebdo” office was fire-bombed and their website hacked.

Following the more recent attack that left 12 magazine employees dead, as well as 5 other victims, the Pope compared “Charlie Hebdo’s” Muhammad covers to cursing someone’s mother.

According to CBS News, Pope Francis said if someone were to say a curse word against his mother, they could “expect a punch.”

“It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” said the Pope.

After reports of his reaction, Pope Francis clarified that his words were not a justification of the terrorists’ violence, but a call to understanding.

“…There is prudence, which is a virtue of human coexistence. I cannot insult or provoke someone continually because I risk making him angry,” said the Pope.

Some students agree with Pope Francis’ policy of kindness regarding other religions.

Maggie Scalfano said everyone should have freedom of speech, but that it is wrong to insult someone’s religion.

“All religions are aiming for the same thing, although they have different interpretations. It’s wrong to insult someone who’s just trying to worship God in their own way,” said Scalfano, a junior biology major.