Terror in Paris


At 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, two gunmen dressed in black, Said and Cherif Kouachi,  stormed into a building asking for the location of the magazine’s office, Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly publication. They asked a cartoonist to take them there, and she entered a security code to open the locked door, where an editorial meeting was taking place. The gunman shouted out the names of those they wanted to kill. Reports say that the men yelled “Allahu akbar!” which means “God is great.” The men carried out this act in an execution style, and they believed that they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed. As they were fleeing, a police car was in the attacker’s way, and they fired at the car. The attackers, while in a car, killed an officer walking past on the sidewalk. The gunmen killed 12 and wounded at least 40 others. The Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen is claiming responsibility for this barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo has long been targeted for their controversial cartoons in their publications. In 2005, Kurt Westergaard, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, published a cartoon of Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, sparking many protests. An attacker broke into Westergaard’s home, smashing an ax through his bathroom door. The attacker shouted “‘l’ll be back” and left the home. The attacker was related to Al-Shabaab, a Somali extremist group. In 2011, the Charlie Hebdo office was firebombed after they announced that the Prophet Mohammed would guest edit the next issue. No one was harmed, however, the office was completely destroyed. Other questionable cartoons have been published much to the dislike of many Muslims.
Pope Francis gave his opinion on the attack stating, “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith, but one can’t kill in the name of God.” There has been much civil unrest in Paris and surrounding areas due to this event. France has deployed 10,000 troops across their country. On January 17, the brave Charlie Hebdo magazine printed three million copies, compared to the usual 60,000. The cover depicts Mohammed holding a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) and “Tout est Pardonné” (All is forgiven). Many celebrities, such as George Clooney and Diane Kruger, have shown support for Charlie Hebdo. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo have sparked international attention not only for the horrific events that occurred, but also for the issue concerning freedom of speech.