Actors Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi and poet Javed Akhtar are among the over 100 prominent citizens who have come together and issued a joint statement condemning the recent killings in France in the name of religion, according to reports.
The signatories, belonging to different religions and walks of life, also include actor Swara Bhasker, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan, choreographer Mallika Sarabhai, filmmaker Kabir Khan, activists Medha Patkar and Teesta Setalvad, writer Tushar Gandhi, and distinguished former police officer Julio Ribeiro among others.
In the statement, the signatories have slammed the “self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims…rationalising cold-blooded murder.” Condemning the recent killings in France “unequivocally and unconditionally”, the statement termed the two assailants as “fanatics in the name of faith”.
“We, the undersigned, unequivocally and unconditionally condemn the recent killings in France by two fanatics in the name of faith. We are deeply disturbed by the convoluted logic of some self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims in rationalising cold-blooded murder and deplore the outrageous remarks of some heads of state,” it said.
“Rationalising crimes by comparing them to similar crimes committed by others is an irrational and absurd argument, as two wrongs don’t make a right. We reject any ifs and buts in the justification of heinous crimes in the name of religion, any religion. No god, gods, goddesses, prophets or saints may be invoked to justify the killing and/or terrorising of fellow human beings,” the statement added.
Further calling on Muslims in the European country to “cancel celebrations of the birthday of the Prophet as a sign of mourning and solidarity with victims and loved ones,” they said it has now become the order of the day for all religious groups to indulge in “whataboutery” whenever such heinous crimes are committed by those belonging to their flock.
The statement follows a stabbing incident in the French city of Nice where an attacker killed three people at a church while reportedly shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Earlier, a school teacher was beheaded in Paris for showing Prophet Mohammad’s caricature to his students for an alleged study purpose.
There has been widespread resentment against the French President, Emannuel Macron, following the incident for defending the cartoons and free speech, and also called Islam a “religion in crisis”, reports said. The Indian government has backed the President.