Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II denounced the recent cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published another cartoon of Mouhammed following the terrorist attack on their offices last week.
According to Fides, the Patriarch said that the images were “offensive” and that any insult must be rejected “at all levels.”
Following the massacre, the magazine printed 5 million copies – whose cover shows a cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad crying and holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie” under the title “All is forgiven”.
“I refuse any form of personal insult, and when the insult is related to religions, they cannot be approved neither at a human, nor at a moral and social level. They do not help the peace in the world, and do not produce any benefit,” he said. The Coptic Patriarch released his statements during a meeting with several journalists.
In an interview with Fides, Coptic Catholic Bishop Anba Antonios Aziz Mina also said that while the cartoons are “glorified” as freedom of expression, true freedom is always responsible.
“It does not offend gratuitously, it does not hurt others, especially when speaking of religion and faith. Maybe one should not give importance to these derisions, and not have reactions that are then manipulated and misrepresented as obscurantism,” he said.
The Coptic Patriarch’s words also echo the sentiments of Pope Francis on the matter of freedom of expression. During his flight from Colombo to Manila, the Pope said that while freedom of expression is a right and a duty, “provoking and insulting other people’s faiths is not right.”