Pakistani pens 'apology' for Charlie Hebdo attack on behalf of all Muslims

Published: January 22, 2015


A young Pakistani, Shehzad Ghias, has penned a fitting apology for an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for people world over from Muslims. Enough said, here it is:

“After the tragic Charlie Hebdo shootings, there has been a call by some people to make all Muslims all over the world apologise for the incident. I completely agree with the sentiment. It is the only way to root out terrorism for once and for all.

Nothing could make all the victims of terrorist attacks all over the world happier than watching every single Muslim in the world say ‘sorry.’ To really drive the point home, we can even send them greeting cards with our heartfelt apologies.

I am sure the world would reciprocate in kind. We can start an apology trend. Once every single Muslim in the world apologises for Charlie Hebdo then we can move on to making every single Christian in the world apologise for Hitler. Hitler’s moustache is for the Christians what an unkempt beard is for the Muslims. I have no idea why mass murderers are so keen on making fashion statements too.

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The British can fly all Brits to all their previous colonies and make them all apologise to every single member of those countries. It might be much harder for the Americans to do the same considering the amount of things they have to apologise for. They can make a world tour out of it: Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico, Spain, England. At this stage it is easier to just name the countries America does not need to apologise for.

‘Sorry’ should be the first word we should teach all future Muslim kids. We should roam around wearing shirts which say ‘sorry’, better yet maybe even permanently tattoo ‘sorry’ on our foreheads.

I personally feel responsible for every single person of my faith who does anything. While I am at it, I want to say sorry to every person who got his slippers stolen at the masjid (mosque) but if and only if you can confirm that the person who stole your slipper was a Muslim. He must have been shouting ‘Allah o Akbar’ while stealing them for you to be sure.

I now fully comprehend why our justice system has such a huge bottleneck of cases. If every single Muslim is responsible for every single thing done by any Muslim, I do not blame the judges for all the delays. The entire Muslim population of the world has to be included as defendants in every case.

I hope Pakistan’s military courts are much more effective. I hope they can follow the efficient model of North Korea, who use the ‘three generations of punishment’ rule. It is the only way to ensure the collective responsibility for one’s actions. Clearly if a person commits a crime, then people who brought that person into the world must be guilty too. And any person a criminal brings to the world is obviously a criminal too.

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Pakistan believes in having family businesses: an engineer’s son is an engineer, a politician’s son is a politician ergo a terrorist’s son must be a terrorist. Why should the unborn not suffer just because they do not exist yet?

Every single Muslim that is yet to be born should be brought up being taught to apologise for everything. Why just limit it to Charlie Hebdo? Muslims should apologise for all the ills caused by Muslims to the world.

To make life easier for all parents, I am drafting a generic apology that they can make their kids memorise.

“My name is (Insert Islamically acceptable name here) and I was born into a Muslim family so that makes me guilty of all the things Muslims have ever done. Before you put me in Guantanamo Bay, I just want to say I am deeply sorry.

I would like to apologise for inventing astronomy. The guilt of al Sufi naming all the visible stars in the 10th century and Abu Mahmud Khojandi calculating the tilt of the Earth’s axis in 994 AD is something that I still carry with me. It was because if their crimes against humanity that these terrorists are able to accurately calculate the dates for their attacks.

I would like to apologise for Ibn al Haytham’s contribution to optical science. Had he not discovered all human beings actually see, how would these terrorists be able to see who they were killing? Clearly these Muslim terrorist organisations have been active since the 10th century. Had al Haytham not figured out that light travels in straight lines, we would not have the cameras of today that terrorists use to promote their organisations. Al Haytham was basically the first member of ISIS.

I would like to apologise for al Jazari’s water-raising machines, his use of cranks to push water up helped agriculture and in turn fed all these terrorists: While I am on the subject, sorry about creating hospitals too. They are just a needless obstacle in the way of killing terrorists. I have no idea what 10th century Muslim civilisations were thinking providing free 24-hour universal health care to people. At least I am happy they were self-conscious of this insanity and also created the first hospitals for the mentally ill in the world.

The use of the Al Jazari’s ideas lead to the creation of the bicycle giving the world the horrible form of terrorism called the Tour de France. If watching grown men cycling across a country wearing yellow jerseys is not torture, I do not know what is.

I would like to apologise for the invention of windmills, guitars, the hookah and coffee.

I would like to apologise for the role of Muhammad Ibn Musa al Khwarizmi in the development of algebra and algorithms. If he was alive, I am sure he would be selected for a random spot check in an airport relying on his work for their daily calculations.

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I would like to apologise for al Jahiz’s theory of the ‘struggle for existence’. I am sorry for even mentioning it. I realise it is completely contrary to the Science and Islam binary narrative perpetuated freely by networks such as Fox News. How dare I mention that the theory of natural selection actually has roots in a 9th century book of animals called Kitab al Hayawan.

I would like to apologise for the University of Al Karaouine, recognised as the world’s oldest university that granted degrees to individuals, way back in 859. I am sure they were just handing out degrees in terrorism anyway.

Sorry about the Caliph Harun al Rashid founding the House of Wisdom in the 9th century. It was his ill intentions that led to the west being exposed to the works of the Greek philosophers. If it wasn’t for him kids in the west would not be terrorised by the works of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle throughout their school lives. I feel their pain.

Sorry for all the art also. And the architecture. All the mosques were meant to be terrorist headquarters anyway so I am glad you took all the inspiration from them and took the techniques out of the religious context. I am not even interested in anything that happened before the Renaissance in Europe. If you tell me it happened out of nowhere then I have no need to trace the traditions back anyway. It is not like things happen in a historical context relying on all the traditions gone by.

I sound like a crazy person even attempting to compare Andy Warhol’s techniques to the repetition of patterns and pictures prevalent in mosques and Islamic architecture so I am going to shut up about it. We all know Muslims hate art anyway.

Trying to read calligraphy is also terrorism, so sorry about that too.

Lastly, I would also like to apologise for the Arabs discovering how to distil water and create alcohol out of fermented fruits. All the Muslims should definitely apologise for all the drunk driving accidents caused around the world

I could go on but I think you realise how sorry I am about everything. I hope you would be able to accept me as one of your own in a way that would make you feel that you are celebrating diversity but in reality you are promoting uniformity. Thank you for letting me retain my token identity while robbing me of my historical traditions. I hope all the future Muslim generations never get to learn about those traditions so that they find it much easier than me to simply associate all things Islam with merely terrorism. It would make it easier to apologise for them.

Apologetically yours,

(English name I have taken up to make you like me more.)”

The letter first appeared on the writer’s blog. This article is satire.

CORRECTION: A previous version of the article stated that the apology first appeared on Scroll.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Nilofer
    Jan 22, 2015 - 6:53PM

    Some of the excerpts from the satirical article “I would like to apologise for inventing astronomy.”. “I would like to apologise for Ibn al-Haytham’s contribution to optical science. “I would like to apologise for Al-Jazari’s water-raising machines,”.
    Interestingly the writer is stressing Muslims have individuality while at the same time he is reminding the world of some Arab men’s contribution and then using **I** as if he has invented something on his own. The conclusion is that kindly treat any Arab contribution as the contribution of all the Muslims world but kindly treat any Terrorist incident by any Muslim as the act of an individual.
    It could not get confusing more than that. Also someday do ask Any Arab guy that what do you think of Pakistanis Arab lineage and then the reply should be written in another satirical article then.Recommend

  • Ahsan
    Jan 22, 2015 - 7:34PM

    @Nilofer: You nailed it, our syndrome of playing the hyper exaggerated victim card.


  • Asad Khan
    Jan 22, 2015 - 7:43PM

    For all those who thinks that Muslim should collectively offer apology even after condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo, listen to this.



  • Ashraf
    Jan 22, 2015 - 7:46PM

    For a moment I thought it was a sincere apology. Sad really that a disproportionate response is considered perfectly normal.


  • Ariba
    Jan 22, 2015 - 7:49PM

    The histories of the United States and Europe are ashamed of slavery, embarrassed by the colonial period and chagrined at the oppression of people of color and non-Christians. Your researchers and historians are deeply ashamed of the bloodsheds wrought in the name of religion between the Catholics and Protestants or in the name of nationality and ethnicity during the First and Second World Wars. This approach is admirable.

    Exactly. The above message should go to all Pakistanis before burning flags.Recommend

  • CV
    Jan 22, 2015 - 8:15PM

    Cynical posts like these do not mould peaceful relations between peoples. Asking people to apologize for terrorist attacks they did not commit is indeed ridiculous. Most Westerners, I believe, do not hold this position. But it is equally ridiculous to adopt a victim role, when Muslims are pointed out to the more problematic sides of Islam, including today’s violent and extremist deeds. This letter hangs on that trend. It mocks the generalisations by bringing forward historical crimes of other nations, and that if Muslims have to apologize, so do Americans. This is an equally ridiculous stance, which is rightfully mocked, as is the position to hold all Muslims accountable for terrorist attacks. So far so good.
    But then the letter goes way over the top. It alludes that Muslims have on edge over others, that they are actually more special, since Muslim forefathers have made such achievements and discoveries. That Westerners actually should be grateful. This is an absurd position. Just as people are not responsible for the crimes of others or fore the crimes of their nations in history, similarly a present day Muslim has no connection to the (perceived) accomplishments of their ancestors. If you do take credit, do you also take credit for the violence and wars that your forefathers have waged during all those the centuries? I think not…


  • Maqsood Baluch
    Jan 22, 2015 - 9:09PM

    Magnanimity oozes from every word used to offer an apology on behalf of all the peace loving muslim brothers , sisters young and the old . Should be accepted with equal magnanimity and grace by all for whatever reason and why a few acted in a way negating the peaceful message of love and tolerance so often found and followed since the inception of ISLAM as a religion . Sympathizing earnestly and seeking an apology from family members , friends and relatives of the victims of Charlie Habdo . Must be shared and shouldered by the muslim world .


  • Umar
    Jan 22, 2015 - 10:02PM

    There are 4 or 5 different kinds of ethnicities living in Pakistan , We pashtuns dont claim to be decedents of those arabs , we have our own history and thirdly I dont even care what arabs thinks about Pakistanis and I would also like to reply to your first question , If you talk to an austrian or german about hitler their reply would be he was a really bad person and what he did to the world has nothing to do with us but they do take pride in their own scientists all you pseudo liberals can think of is to bash Pakistan and religion to show yourself that you guys are “part of the Modern Society”


  • Sam
    Jan 23, 2015 - 9:06AM

    Islam produced great scientists, scholars, artists etc till about the 10th century, but it was downhill from there.



  • Nilofer
    Jan 23, 2015 - 9:07AM

    @Umer Do a revisit of my whole comment. Read it carefully and then reply again. It was directed at the writer with a sarcasm. Also how much easier it is to simply name anyone who disagree with you as Infidel or Pseudo-liberal as you did. It is very easy to be opinionated for others and that is what you have done here. Regarding to you comment that Germans dont associate with Hitler and i agree with you but do you know atleast they agree that Hitler was a German. In Pakistan after any terrorist attack our majority states that The Terrorist have nothing to do with religion so we simply carry no blame at all. We simply state that Terrorist have links with Yahoodi, CIA, Raw, Qadianis so terrorists are not from us at all. There is huge difference in these two statements but i am sure since you label me as the made up term Pseudo-liberal so you will never bother about my comment at all.Recommend

  • Taimur Khan
    Jan 23, 2015 - 10:12AM

    People, people people………take a deep breath! This is satire…..don’t take the sarcasms seriously. Whoever wrote it is not simply taking the apology demand into history! No wonder we get worked up about silly cartoons also.Recommend

  • eyeopener
    Jan 23, 2015 - 12:11PM

    waste of time to reason with people of Islamic republic of Pakistan, founded by people like Jinnah and Iqbal who defended and supported the murderer of rangeel rasool publisher.


  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 23, 2015 - 12:35PM

    One of the better articles ET has printed. However I have to say that over the last few years I have been at some pain in pointing out that Islam dragged Europeans and the British from the Dark Ages, and introduced them into the world of intellectual thinking and knowledge, which led on to the so called European Renaissance in the 15th century. Ever since then of course the British, Americans, Europeans and many Islamics have continually produced putdowns upon Islamic scholars at every chance they get. What they do not realize in their inability to accept that Islamic scholarship rescued them is that the world would still have thousands of years to go in developing a normal semblance of civilization if it was not for Islam It should also be realized that when I have pointed out repeatedly that Islam introduced the world to intellectual excellence I have never received one like from an Islamic person. Perhaps this is an indication that Islam has dropped from its previous high standard of intellectual excellence.


  • Dr.Khurram Waqas
    Jan 23, 2015 - 3:30PM

    wow…nothing gets past you does it? you me be special :P


  • Dr.Khurram Waqas
    Jan 23, 2015 - 3:32PM



  • Umar
    Jan 23, 2015 - 5:15PM

    You have to differentiate now , Hilter came up with the idea of “pure Germanic race” so ofcourse they cant deny that he was a German , German is a race Pakistani and Islam is not , Islam is a religion based on an ideology and these terrorists do not represent that ideology thats why we disown them that they don’t represent us !! and I would like to say it again we DONT claim any Arab ancestry , so don’t use this as an argument to bash Pakistanis


  • Ivehadit
    Jan 23, 2015 - 5:31PM

    Seems only Taimur gets it – this is satire folks with a political slant. Get on with it.


  • KC Panjwani
    Jan 24, 2015 - 12:18AM

    It is a cleverly penned response – love the sign. However it’s just a reactive defensive rant and it does not contribute to any positive solutions or dialogue..

    It props up Hitler and colonialism one one side vs Muslim achievements that go back at least a thousand years.. What have done in the last thousand years ?

    True the west colonized us, but we also let ourselves be colonized. Often it still seems as those in charge in the Muslim world conduct themselves as the colonists ruling over a subjugated peoples. How long do we plan to hold on to colonialism as the primary cause of our failing aspirations.

    In truth we had been mourning our slide from our Apex, for the last millennia. Prior to that had we not also colonized many parts of the world and subjugated others? Yes, I understand we take pride in that history. We own it as spreading enlightenment, art, architecture and our obligation to propagate the message of Allah. However are those not the same claims made by the British and French and various other colonial missionaries.

    I detest the Charlie-Hebdo cartoons. They contribute only fuel to a raging fire of distrust, hurt and anger. But even more I abhor the actions by the extremists in our name. It is their vile conduct, and our lack of a cogent response that are largely responsible for any anxieties about a Muslim identity.

    We live in complex fast changing times.. We need to find a response that allows us to be both good and true Muslims, as well as welcome and dependable neighbors to others in our pluralistic modern world.

    True! America has done many outrageous things in the International community. Often it has failed to lead by example . However, at some point is often held to account by its own. Its misguided history is revised and is forced to make positive course corrections.

    The reality is that we have not had the power to abuse on in such a scale. One should not automatically assume, that we don’t meddle, because we are being more noble or also do not harbor our own delusions of grandeur. Just look at what we continue to do to those we can subjugate in our own domain. Our larger history of wielding power in the last thousand years is far from ideal.

    I think that most pious and educated muslims that are currently in Pakistan would jump at the chance to raise their families in America – the so called Great Satan.

    Neither Shezad’s nor mine has contributed anything for us as Muslims or Pakistanis …

    We have much potential in our nation. Let’s continue to look to each other for the causes of our failures as well as for the solutions that will provide a future of pride, success joy and salvation.


  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 24, 2015 - 12:42AM

    This article is countering with satire the drivel which went viral in the Western media, and I hope we see more opposition from Islamic writers in the future. Unfortunately, Islamic and Western history has become extremely convoluted, and even more unfortunately many Islamic people agree with incorrect Western viewpoints. What I do know is that from the early Crusades up to the present time Islam has been presented in the media and history books as wild eyed savages with flashing scimitars leading on to AK47s and IEDs. During the Crusades the Middle-East was constantly invaded, plundered and slaughter was the name of the game. Things settled down to some extent, but Britain and France eventually stole most of North Africa and the Middle-East. People such as Bomber Harris of WWII fame learned his bombing techniques in Iraq which he developed to control the naughty Arab tribesmen. Moving up to 2001 nothing really changed in Western attitudes, and they have subsequently killed a million or two Islamic people razed many large cities to the ground, and it is still ongoing. Then disaster struck.France. A dozen or so French people were killed. We are not really sure who did it or why because everybody is conveniently dead. What we do know is the double standards of world leaders. The violent death rate of Muslim people compared to the French attack is about 166,000 to 1, but I have not previously noticed Angela Merkel walking arm in arm with her world colleagues as a sign of respect for Muslims. I think apologies are in order, but have a bad feeling the Muslim world will be waiting a long time for the US.UK/EU/Australia to apologize.


  • AZK
    Jan 24, 2015 - 12:31PM

    @Nilofer As some people need a general apology from Muslims so the writer uses “I” for the whole muslim community in a sarcastic way. If he apologizes for the whole the muslim community by using “I”, then obviously he would use “I” for the noble deeds of all muslim individuals. The point is that if west wants to put the blame of individual terrorism acts on whole muslim community then in the same manner all good things done by individual muslims are to be attributed to the whole muslim community. This is satire, please try to understand the message


  • katuaindian
    Jan 24, 2015 - 2:02PM

    Muslims are being pushed and pushed and pushed into a corner. Always in the focus, as the aggressor or the victim. The world doesn’t wish to see a stable Muslim population. We are supposed to keep our head down in constant shame. What this letter shows to me, atleast? It reminds me of my glorious past. It shows that I’m not a passive passenger being carried along by this world. I’m a proud Muslim and I do not have to be pushed into a corner. I’m going to find a way out, Inshallah.


  • Shabbir
    Jan 24, 2015 - 7:51PM

    @Sexton Blake: you are very right about the western rewrite of our history. Why don’t you give up your western sounding moniker?


  • Bish
    Jan 25, 2015 - 3:32AM

    What a complete and utter idiot, also this Zionist controlled paper for publishing it.
    Is it only the non Muslims that have the courage to speak the truth. Read this–norman-finkelstein-charlie-hebdo-is-sadism-not-satire
    You have no idea of history or the dynamics of it. A note to the newspaper get some sense.


  • Hassan
    Jan 25, 2015 - 10:47AM

    Interesting how our hyper exaggerated victim mentality forgets times and centuries and so easily overlooks the ground reality that are the weekly Friday congregation. How easily we can overlook the sheer numbers of enablers and supporters that are out for the blood of the infidels just because some lunes on the other side demanded an apology!


  • Sexton Blake
    Jan 25, 2015 - 3:28PM

    @Shabbir: “Why don’t you give up your Western sounding moniker”?
    Dear Shabbir,
    I will not go into my ethnicity in detail except to say I fell in love with all aspects of the sub-continent a few years after I was born some eighty years ago. Shortly afterwards for good or bad reasons certain real and fictional people became my heroes. To name a few, one of them was Sherlock Holmes, another Rudyard Kipling and of course Sexton Blake. I was toying with the idea of using Rudyard Kipling as my pseudonym, but thought in view of the antagonism between Muslims and Hindus, Sexton was the better option. Perhaps in hindsight I selected an incorrect pseudonym, but am open to advise in regard to an acceptable moniker.


  • Sexton Blaket
    Jan 25, 2015 - 5:14PM

    Please explain which non-Muslims speaking the truth you have in mind. I personally have not heard too many, but then I obviously must be off-balance.


  • Ariba
    Jan 26, 2015 - 8:52PM

    Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.

    Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.

    Here we are again.

    The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most tragic ways: France, like the United States on 9/11, has been used. The masses of the world have been deceived, and march in lockstep to NATO’s drumbeat again.

    All signs lead from French intelligence back to Washington—and Langley, Virginia—directly and indirectly. Red herrings and deceptions comprise the official narrative.

    The Al-Qaeda narrative, the classic CIA deception, gets fresh facelift. The fact that Al-Qaeda is CIA-created Anglo-American military-intelligence is ignored. The agenda behind the ISIS war—a massive and elaborate regional CIA false flag operation—registers even less.

    The Charlie Hebdo terrorists have ties to Anglo-American intelligence and the Pentagon that the masses do not bother to think about. They are also tied to the (conveniently dead) 9/11-connected Al-Qaeda mastermind/CIA military-intelligence asset Anwar Al-Awlaki. These and other obvious connections to Washington and the CIA do not raise alarm bells among the ardent ones waving Je Suis Charlie signs (which “magically” appeared, and seem to have been mass-produced in advance).


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