Don’t pretend Paris terror attack has nothing to do with Islam

by BENNY ANVI January 8, 2015

france_newspaper_paris not afraid vigil

It's absolutely right to call the Paris terrorist killings an assault on basic values that the entire free world believes in. But how can so many go on to say, in the same breath, "These barbarians have nothing to do with Islam?"

Those two sentiments, in various forms, dominated English-language TV broadcasts of France 24 yesterday. Both are valid, but they're contradictory.

"This was an attack on freedom," French President Francois Hollande said. But then, perhaps to avoid spreading the blame to all of France's Muslims, the largest such minority in Europe, he added, "We must realize our best weapon is unity. Nothing must separate us or drive us apart."

Well, something is driving us apart: We believe in freedom; the terrorists don't.

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie ("I am Charlie") dominated Twitter in the hours after the attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which killed 10 members of the staff and two policemen guarding them.

But are we all Charlie? Very few of us are cartoonists who revel in making fun of Catholics, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and other frequent targets of Charlie Hebdo. Even some press people scoff at such journalism.

Yet it's easy to understand that when people who make a living using drawing pencils and computer keyboards are gunned down, everybody's freedom of speech is endangered.

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