American Muslim organizations have strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people but expressed fear of possible backlash and retribution against Muslims in America and Europe.
"The event is disgusting. We send our condolences to our friends and those who lost loved ones," said Dawud Walid, executive director of Michigan's branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We are concerned about backlash against Muslims in the west."
In Washington, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said: "We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures." He said "the proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions."
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Azhar Azeez condemned the barbaric attack "which was seemingly done to undermine freedom of speech. Speech, even when it is offensive to our religious traditions and sensibilities, can never be a justification to kill."
Another Muslim civil advocacy group, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) strongly condemned the deadly attack in Paris and said: Defaming and insulting the noble character of the Prophet of Allah, is not a new phenomenon. During his lifetime, he endured attacks of all kinds, including physical, psychological, emotional, and social. Despite this, he never took revenge against those who offended him. At the most, he would call on God for help and protection. " A true defense of the Prophet of Islam, will never be achieved through bombs and bullets, but through living a life of mercy reflective of his great character, love, compassion and pardon, ICNA concluded.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), another leading group, while condemning the attack said: The Quran upholds the importance of the freedom to express one's own thoughts, even when they may be seen as distasteful or disrespectful by others. "The tragic irony that these criminals displayed is that if they actually gave a cursory look over the Prophet Muhammad's life, they'd see how he reacted to insults and degrading treatment," said Haris Tarin, Director of the Washington, DC, Office. "The Prophet always responded with mercy and forgiveness. No matter what grievances individuals or communities might have, violence is never the answer."
The Michigan Imams Council deplored the Paris killings and said: "We ask all people of conscience to not paint the entire Muslim people with the same brush." Saeed A. Khan, a lecturer in Near East Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, said most Muslims in America are deeply disturbed by the Paris attack, yet remain vigilant for any blowback against the community. "It's events like this that have the ability and potential for backlash," Khan said.
The attackers of Charlie Hebdo, Said and Cherif Kouachi, were killed on Friday (January 9) after a long chase. The attackers escaped by car. As they ran back to their car, the attackers reportedly shouted, "We have avenged Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo."
Who benefits from the Charlie Hebdo attack?
As the Paris terrorist attack was globally condemned many commentators tried to analyze the possible reasons for the attack.
German writer, Dr. Ludwig Watzal, argues that in promoting the Islamic enemy image, "Charlie Hebdo" was not the real model of freedom of speech. It was rather one of many mouthpieces of a predominant trend all across Europe that is racist, islamophobic, xenophobic and exclusively Western value-oriented. This arrogant attitude is now bearing terrible fruit. Nevertheless, the question remains: Who benefits from it?
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based writer pointed out that the Paris shooters were radicalized in Europe, sent to Syria, returned, have been previously arrested by Western security agencies for terrorism and long on the watch-list of French and other Western intelligence agencies. Yet "somehow" they still managed to execute a highly organized attack in the heart of Europe.
Cartalucci believes that there is implications of yet another case of Western-radicalized terrorists, first exported to fight NATO's proxy war in Syria, then imported and well-known to Western intelligence agencies, being able to carry out a highly organized, well-executed attack, is that the attack itself was sanctioned and engineered by Western intelligence agencies themselves,. "This mirrors almost verbatim the type of operations NATO intelligence carried out during the Cold War with similar networks of radicalized militants used both as foreign mercenaries and domestic provocateurs. Toward the end of the Cold War, one of these militant groups was literally Al Qaeda - a proxy mercenary front armed, funded, and employed by the West to this very day."
Writing in Asia Times, Who profits from killing Charlie?, Pepe Escobar pointed out that it is convenient to forget that "untold millions from Pakistan's tribal areas to street markets across Iraq continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadi mindset -- or "Kalashnikov culture," as it is known in Pakistan -- profiting the "West," directly or indirectly, for decades now."
Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnages over 10 times worse than Paris, he said adding: What French President Francois Hollande defined as "an act of exceptional barbarism" -- and it is -- does not apply when the "West," France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah; killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly all right. But don't do that in Paris.
The attack threatens to stoke Islamophobia in America and Europe. To borrow Pepe Escobar, predictably, Islamo-fascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year.