Russell Brand makes an impassioned call for greater religious tolerance following Charlie Hebdo attack: 'We must love as they hate'

“The reason I feel frightened by tragedies such as this is because I think there’s nothing I can do, but there is,” he continues

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The Independent Online

Russell Brand has remained uncharacteristically silent on the issue of freedom of speech following the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week.

That’s because he’s been “away on holiday in a low signal land”.

Now he’s back, and he’s dedicated an entire blog post to the shootings by Islamic extremists in Paris that left 10 journalists, and seven civilians, dead in three days.

During the piece, he made an impassioned call for observers not to bow to “tension and fear” within their communities, nor to make the generalisation that the actions of “these men of murder” are representative of the Islamic faith.

  “The awful fact is that violence of this type is almost impossible to stop,” he writes. “If any of us decide to yield to the terror within us and inflict violence, misguidedly or arbitrarily then how can it be prevented? More gates and bars and guards? More spying and borders and hate? More division and suspicion and derision? That is the philosophy that got us here.”

Our only effective weapon against terror, he says, is “compassion and love”.

Charlie-Demo1-Getty.jpg “I don’t mean this in a wet, liberal ‘kumbaye ah me lord’ type way. I am saying that we must love as passionately as they hate. We must respect as vehemently as they desecrate. It is not easy to be peaceful and loving in the face of dreadful violence but it’s all we have.

“The reason I feel frightened by tragedies such as this is because I think there’s nothing I can do, but there is,” he continues. “I can love and tolerate and reach across the fear. In places where secular and religious folk live together we have got to start observing the main message of every scripture; ‘be nice’.

“All the other stuff is speculation; which book is best, which God is the most mighty. None of us know what’s beyond the sensory realm, this tiny sliver of material life strewn within the infinite. But we each have the power to create heaven or hell here on Earth, extremists on all sides are clear in their intentions and actions, we, the vast, powerful majority, Christians, Muslims, atheists and undecideds have to be more committed and more determined. We must love life more than they love death.

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Messages of sympathy near the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris

“We must love each other more than they hate,” he concludes, “in God’s name, in Allah’s name in Charlie’s name, in all our names.”

Brand’s post might have been late, but was none-the-less aptly timed to coincide with the largest peaceful demonstration in French history.

 

Over 3.7million joined in the protest in defiance of the terrorists who killed 17 people in three days.

Leaders from countries across Europe linked arms as they led the marches in Paris. Standing side-by-side with French president Francios Hollande were David Cameron, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Queen Rania of Jordan, among others.

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