"Je suis Charlie" and "I like moderate Muslims"
Some in France have responded to yesterday's mass murder in Paris by carring signs reading "Je suis Charlie" and "I like moderate Muslims". Islamist terrorists broke into the editorial offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and shooting 12 people dead and wounding others yesterday.
The attack was evidently a "punishment" for the fact that the weekly was not afraid to publish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Now those demonstrating throughout France intend to show that they are still unafraid: They, too, "are Charlie", publicly expressing the condolences they feel, unafraid to stand up for the free-thinking magazine, and clearly stating that they do not want this terrorist attack to cause a fanatical reaction in people's relationship with "normal" Muslims.
The office of the magazine had become the target of an attack before in 2011, demolished by a Molotov cocktail after publishing a caricature of Mohamed. Yesterday two men with Kalashnikovs shot its editors to death.
The shooters managed to flee and experts believe they are part of a well-trained commando unit. Today several European dailies have written "Je suis Charlie" on their front pages, while others are reprinting the caricature of the Prophet Mohammed from Charlie Hebdo.
Politicians worldwide are understandably condemning the terrorist attack, including those from Arab countries. "Representatives of the Arab League, which brings together more than 20 Arab Islamic countries, thoroughly condemn today's action as a terrorist attack, as does Saudi Arabia, which is the cradle of Islam. The leadership of the prominent Muslim Al-Azhar University, based in Cairo, which is a leading authority on Sunni Islam, issued the statement that 'Islam condemns all violence' and expressed regret over the attack, which it called a 'criminal act'," the Czech News Agency reports.
The Czech News Agency is also citing a statement issued by Czech Muslims - the Chair of the Center of Muslim Communities in the Czech Republic, Muneeb Alwari, says the attack "is the sharpest possible contravention of the way the Prophet Mohammed responded in his day to invective." Alwari said "this behavior is just grist to the mill of the Islamophobic, xenophobic tendencies that unfortunately are running rampant to an unprecedented degree in our country as well."
After this terrorist attack, not just France, but all of Europe and the world are expressing compassion and condolences, living in tension and following the hunt for the murderers. Most of all, everyone feels we have entered into the next round of the struggle to maintain an open, tolerant society.
Examples of terrorist attacks in Europe since 11 September 2001
11 March 2004 - After a series of bomb attacks in Madrid, 191 are killed and as many as 1 500 are wounded. Seven terrorists, including the alleged boss of the assassins, Jamal Ahmidam of Morocco, commit suicide in April that year after a police raid on their hideout in a Madrid suburb.
7 July 2005 - A series of four bomb attacks in the center of London takes the lives of 56 people and wounds as many as 700; three bombs exploded in the underground and a fourth was set off on a double-decker bus. Two Islamist groups linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist network claimed responsiblity.
31 July 2006 - At the main strain station in Cologne, two men place explosives in luggage on a regional train heading for Dortmund and Koblenz, but the timed charges on the device fail.
1 January 2010 - Danish police foil an attempt by a man from Somalia to kill the author of one of the controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.
4 March 2010 - Four members of the so-called Sauerland Islamist group, which planned attacks on American soldiers in Germany in 2007, are sentenced to between five and 12 years in prison.
11 December 2010 - A Swedish citizen of Arab origin dies in a suicide attack that uses two explosions on a shopping street in the center of Stockholm. In an e-mail sent prior to the attack, he justified his behavior to police by saying Sweden was protecting the controversial caricature artist Lars Vilks and was militarily involved in Afghanistan.
24 January 2011 - A suicide bomber sets off an explosion at Moscow's Domodyedovo airport. During the attack, 37 people die and 180 are wounded. The attack is attributed to assassins from the northern Caucasus.
2 March 2011 - A Kosovo Albanian on an American military bus traveling to the airport in Frankfurt shoots two soldiers and seriously wounds another two.
30 December 2013 - A bomb explodes at a train station and on a trolleybus in the Russian city of Volgograd, taking the lives of 34 victims. The assassinations are attributed to extremists from the northern Caucasus.
24 May 2014 - During a shooting at the Jewish Museum in the center of Brussels, three people are killed and another person suffers serious injuries to which he eventually succumbs. Not long afterward the assailant, a French citizen of Arab origin, is arrested.
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