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We are all Monsieur Paty now

Public demonstration in the United Kingdom for Sharia (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia.org)

You may not know it yet, but you are Monsieur Paty. Every single non-Muslim and every single Muslim who believes in the values of liberty, egalitarianism, and fraternity is Samuel Paty. For Samuel Paty was murdered for preaching and practicing free speech in Paris.

Every Muslim woman who decided not want to wear hijab and had to face the wrath of her family, community or (sometimes) government is Monsieur Paty. Every woman who endured abuse, imprisonment, acid attack or is even killed for removing her hijab is Monsieur Paty.

We are all Monsieur Paty because we are all seen as the enemy by jihadists who wish to spread Islam. Anyone who does not conform to their demands is an enemy of Islam. And their list of demands is long. Not drawing a cartoon of Muhammad or not sharing the drawing of the cartoon of Muhammad is one such demand.

Those weak constitutions and those who do not care to defend our hard-won freedoms and civil liberties believe that refraining from this one thing will save them from beheading by a jihadi. Only a simple mind could come up with such a simple solution. It is, in actuality, not nearly that simple.

People who grew up in Muslim families and in Muslim societies like myself can attest to this fact. The fundamentalists start with small demands—halal meats, the bending of secular laws to accommodate their religious proclivities like wearing a niqab, etc.—and then the bigger demands will snowball until all their demands of a Sharia-compliant caliphate are met.

Their aim is to have us all living in a land where men and women are segregated, and the women are covered in death shrouds as they still breathe. Evidence of this can be seen in Saudi Arabia or in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, it started with cinemas being closed because they showed American movies—infidel entertainment—and ended with girls being prohibited from going to school.

Any person—Muslim or non-Muslim—who fights against their demands will face the same threat faced by Monsieur Paty. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, women have been imprisoned for fighting for equality. Women in Saudi Arabia were imprisoned for daring to drive. In Iran, women are in prison removing the state-mandated hijabs. And that’s just the Muslims.

Non-Muslims who have no desire, interest and loyalty to Islam, Allah, or Prophet Muhammad, are forced to comply with a religion that is not their own. Mashal Khan in Pakistan was beaten to death by his peers in university because he denounced Islam. Asia Bibi was sentenced to solidarity confinement because— as a Christian woman—she did not show the prophet of a different religion the respect they demanded. Why should she? It’s not her religion.

And it’s not just in Muslim majority countries. In Canada, an Iranian man lost his teaching job for criticizing his own Iranian government. In the UK, thousands of girls were left to be raped by grooming gangs run by Pakistani Muslims, because no one wanted to risk being accused of ‘Islamophobia’— a duplicitous term. In France, of course, a teacher was killed—beheaded actually—in broad daylight in a residential street, after which the killer took photos and posted them on Twitter along with a caption pledging allegiance to his God and his God’s prophet.

This most recent tragedy, along with the countless tragedies before it, makes it very clear to everyone that the rivers of blood will not stop until we stop them. We need to stop cowering in the corner for fear of being labelled bigots or Islamophobes and proudly, loudly proclaim that we have had enough of their demands. We will not be bullied into submission, which is the literal meaning of the word Islam.

We will share pictures of Muhammad, we will not wear hijab, we will support the LGBT community—Muslim or not—and we will fight to defend the liberties and progress we have gained. We will not allow humanity to slide back into rules demanded in the 6th century.

Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists—all humans who believe in freedom of religion, freedom from religion, individual freedoms, democracy, secularism, liberalism—we all need to stand together united against the Islamist and jihadi forces across the globe demanding our submission. We need to strongly defend our freedoms or lose them entirely. That is the only options.

Yasmine Mohammed is an ex-Muslim, author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam, and a human rights activist. The views expressed in this article are personal