The brutal Charlie Hebdo attacks that rocked the world on January 7, 2015, murdered twelve, and further ignited a firestorm of debate surrounding Islam. I saw on the news a statement put out by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said,
As you may remember yesterday when I had the press stakeout, I emphasized that this is not a country, a war against religion or between religions – it is not anything on religion or belief by somebody or some country. This is a purely unacceptable terrorist attack – criminality.
I very much disagree. While there are many instances of non-religious, politically-inspired acts of violence that I have written about, this does not appear to be the case here.
In fact, it’s been reported that during their attacks the gunmen are said to have yelled, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great” in Arabic”). The killings were in retaliation for the satirical drawings of the Prophet Muhammad by the artists at Charlie Hebdo. If that’s not a reason based on religion I don’t know what is. Given these statements, I am amazed that many commenting about this massacre would say such a thing. I am just as amazed that many would deny the political underpinnings of many other attacks. It just goes to show that many are led more by ideology than facts.
I do not wish to provide fuel for the anti-Islam and anti-Muslim bigots who are using this horrific tragedy to justify more war, and more fear mongering. The facts are very much against these individuals.
We must use this as a time to ensure that the values of freedom of speech and expression are protected and not allowed to be snuffed out by some fanatics. I too stand in solidarity with all who seek to write and express both their opinions and the truth, regardless of how wrong they may be, or no matter how insulting. And for that reason I am going to post here a few of my favorite pictures from Glenn Greenwald’s most recent piece.