Russell Brand calls for greater religious tolerance following Charlie Hebdo attack: 'We must love as they hate'

Russell Brand(Photo: Eva Rinaldi/Wikimedia)

Comedian Russell Brand has been increasingly showing his serious side and wrote an eloquent piece in reaction to last week's Paris terrorist shootings, which left 17 people dead.

In his January 10 blog post, Brand wrote that in the face of terror attacks carried out by Islamic extremists, people should all the more respond with compassion and greater religious tolerance.

"We must love as passionately as they hate. We must respect as vehemently as they desecrate," the 39-year-old actor stated.

Brand, who wrote that "the New Year already feels tainted, blood-stained," went on to say, "How can the tenet that The Prophet ought never be depicted ever override Islam's most mundane greeting AsSalaam alaikum—'peace and mercy be upon you'? It can't and it doesn't."

The actor, who is also an author and activist, said that the "men of murder" who are behind countless atrocities are not representative of the greater Muslim community.

"The young, bewildered, pitiable men that carry out these atrocities probably at the behest of older, power hungry men do not speak for Islam or Muhammad or Allah," he wrote. "This language has nothing to do with the God I believe in or the God any of the Muslims I know believe in."

Instead of feeling helpless in the face of jihadists' abominable acts, Brand insists that there is something common people can do.

He wrote, "The reason I feel frightened by tragedies such as this is because I think there's nothing I can do, but there is.

"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."

The comedian was once known for his crude humour and stand-up comedy but has in recent years attempted to refashion himself as a serious commentator and has not shied away from spiritual themes. 

He is the focus of a new documentary, BRAND the Film, out this year, which focuses on his spiritual journey.

Brand concludes his blog by saying, "We must love life more than they love death. We must love each other more than they hate, in God's name, in Allah's name, in Charlie's name, in all our names."