I would like to strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks on a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and Nigeria in which many lives were lost. I equally condemn the decision by the magazine to ridicule the Noble Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (PBUH), by publishing his personality in form of cartoons. This is an insult to more than one billion Muslims worldwide and it must stop!
The publication and distribution of three million copies of Charlie Hebdo magazine with a caricature of the Prophet of Islam will only cause more tension and breed more acts of extremism and terrorism.
As Pope Francis rightly put it, there should be a limit to the so-called freedom of expression. At the same time, I do not agree with anyone who uses Islam as a pretext to commit murder. Islam is a religion of peace.
I also call upon the world to equally show concern for atrocities committed in other parts of the world. The Paris attacks in which 17 people were killed happened at the same time when terrorists attacked a place called Baga in Nigeria, killing 150 people, according to Nigerian authorities. Curiously, we only had condemnations of the Paris attacks, with more than 40 world leaders joining three million people in unity marches across France.
So, are Nigerians not human enough? The same applies to the massacres carried out by the Israeli army in Palestine. Thousands were last year massacred in Gaza in Israeli shelling and air strikes that caused widespread devastation but there was no widespread international condemnation and action.
As long as leaders of countries such as France and others in Europe do not stop double standards when it comes to their relations with the Muslim world, such attacks will not stop.
I have heard information that France’s military is involved in fighting ISIS, a group which they helped to train and arm when it tried to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
I also understand there are laws that prohibit any perceived offensive behaviour or action against the Jews, yet in the same country, it is okay to insult Islam or Muslims. Isn’t this double standards?
As we all join forces to fight terrorism, Western countries should do the world a favour and stop double standards. Every time this happens, extremists use it to recruit and launch more attacks.
Here in Uganda, Ugandan soldiers serving under Amisom have managed to restore calm in Somalia because they do not have backdoor deals with terrorists.
Terrorists who are fighting against the Somali government are the same as those fighting Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani governments.
Militant groups such as ISIS, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram and others would not be as powerful as they are without the backing they receive from Western countries whenever they deem it beneficial to them.
I, therefore, appeal to leaders of Western countries and all their allies to condemn and fight terrorism irrespective of their interests because terrorism has no religion or tribe. Terrorists are terrorists; however much you might want to use them for your interest, they always turn against you.
Mr Nsereko is the public relations officer of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.