The sad news of the horrible attack by gunmen on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 and injuring another seven has been strongly and universally condemned. EMISCO -The European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion joins other heartbroken people to raise our voice against such this senseless incident and extend our heartfelt condolences’ to the families of the victims and the injured. We also wish to convey our support and sympathy for the people and authorities of French Republic who are trying to deal with this tragedy in the best possible manner.
Early reports indicated that this terrorist attack was carried out by two gunmen, who wore hoods and carried Kalashnikov assault rifles. Two police officers were also killed in the attack. One of the two officers killed was Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim himself and the name Ahmed was the second name of the Prophet Muhammad. Among those reported killed on the magazine’s staff are four cartoonists and Charlie Hebdo’s editor in chief, Stephane Charbonnier. The attackers remain at large, and police in Paris are carrying out a major operation to apprehend them.
The magazine has a history of satirizing Islam, and its offices were firebombed in 2011 after it published a cartoon featuring Prophet Muhammad promising “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!” It is reported that the killer shouted slogans in Arabic that they have avenged the attacks on Prophet’s honor. We know that such statements and acts of violence are contrary to the Islamic principles and are actually a betrayal of the values, Muslims should live by. We also wish to emphasize that no matter, what grievances certain groups might have against Charlie Hebdo, barbaric actions are against everything, humanity stands for.
It is good that Muslim leaders and activists immediately denounced the terrorist’s actions, reiterating the verse in the Quran that tells Muslims when one kills just one innocent person; it is as if he has killed all of the humanity. Internationally, many Muslim organizations, including Arab League and Al-Azhar University have severely condemned this attack.
Unfortunately this carnage has given ammunition to those rightwing and Islamophobic movements that are already active to paint Islam and Muslims as inherently violent, undemocratic and enemies of Freedom of Speech. Attacks on Muslims and mosques have been happening regularly and are increasing. That situation must be dealt with by the authorities.
It is EMISCO’s hope that sober and calm voices in France and Europe will prevail, attackers would be apprehended to face the Justice and Muslim communities would not be targeted because of their religion or traditions.
EMISCO can be contacted: +45 40154771