Twelve people, including police, journalists and cartoonists were killed today at the headquarters of “Charlie Hebdo,” a satirical magazine in Paris.
A French imam called the slain journalists “martyrs for liberty.”
In the US, Secretary of State, John Kerry, said “directly to the people of Paris and of all of France,” that “each and every American stands with you today, not just in horror or in anger or in outrage for this vicious act of violence, though we stand with you in solidarity and in commitment both to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause which the extremists fear so much and which has always united our two countries: freedom.”
Secretary Kerry was at a press conference with Polish Foreign Minister, Schetyna. He said the murders of the people in France was not a clash of civilizations, but a clash “between civilization itself and those who are opposed to a civilized world.”
“No country knows better than France that freedom has a price, because France gave birth to democracy itself. France sparked so many revolutions of the human spirit, borne of freedom and of free expression, and that is what the extremists fear the most. They may wield weapons, but we in France and in the United States share a commitment to those who wield something that is far more powerful – not just a pen, but a pen that represents an instrument of freedom, not fear. Free expression and a free press are core values, they are universal values; principles that can be attacked but never eradicated, because brave and decent people around the world will never give in to the intimidation and the terror that those seeking to destroy those values employ.”
The offices of Charlie Hebdo had been attacked and firebombed previously, in the past few years.
The black masked killers proclaimed that “Charlie Hebdo is dead,” but they are wrong. Charlie Hebdo is very much alive, and spontaneous protests are taking place all over France, supporting their freedom of speech.
The director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, at King’s College’s in London, Peter Neumann, said, “This is a dangerous moment for European societies. With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, condemned the attack, saying the Iranian people and their resistance stand with the French people and the bereaved families of the victims. She said the “attack on citizens and the innocent, especially reporters, upon whatever pretext or reason is a terroristic crime in blatant contradiction to the teachings of Islam that is far from these kinds of atrocities.”
“We condemn this horrific attack on a media outlet and its staff – the worst such attack globally in the past five years – as a direct threat to the right of freedom of expression in France, and to us all. Silencing the messenger is the worst form of censorship, made even more abhorrent by violence.” – Karin Karlekar, director of the Freedom of the Press project at Freedom House.
President Hollande declared a day of mourning, and called for a minute of silence at noon.
Secretary Kerry said the freedom of expression represented by Charlie Hebdo is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror. It will serve to strengthen the commitment to freedom of the civilized world.
See also the story by Kimberly Jones, When Religion Becomes an Excuse, in which she said “Throughout time, men have coveted their religious beliefs above all others. This has led to the Crusades, the Inquisitions, and the Holocaust. Thousands upon thousands have died in the defense of their religion, or because they didn’t have the “proper” religion according to an opponent.”