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Two fanatical groups use the death of Robin Williams

According to the Aug. 17, 2014, Mirror in Britain, Syrian rebels in Kafranbel have released an image of a banner that quotes Robin Williams on Facebook and other social media sites. The banner says "To be free. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in the world." The quote is followed by R. I. P. Robin Williams. The people in Kafranbel are known for their use of social media in their two-year struggle against the Assad regime.

 Flowers are placed on Robin Williams Hollywood Walk of Fame star on August 12, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.
Flowers are placed on Robin Williams Hollywood Walk of Fame star on August 12, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

The Aug. 17, 2014, Advocate reported that the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas plans to protest Robin Williams' funeral because Williams supported Equality House that advocates equal treatment for gay people. The church plans to carry banners calling Williams a “fag pimp.” Westboro Baptist Church is adamantly against gay marriage and anything gay in general.

While both the rebels in Syria and the Westboro Baptist Church could be considered as religious fanatics, one might note a difference in the way they are both using Robin Williams' death. The Westboro Baptist Church would claim that the people of Kafranbel are absolutely “hell bound” because they are Muslim. Yet, the Muslims demonstrate more respect for the dead than the purported Christians even though both groups are using Williams like a tool. At least the Muslims show some respect for the dead and the grieving family.

Robin Williams' funeral is planned to be a small and intimate ceremony according to the New York Post. One doubts that the plans for demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church will come to fruition. Public ceremonies celebrating Williams' life are scheduled and include fund raising for various charities including Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Planting Peace that owns Equality House.

If he were living Williams might respond to the Westboro Baptist Church with “I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you.” He might quip to the Syrians that “In America they really do mythologise people when they die.” It is a pity that the world just cannot let the poor man rest in peace.