JeSuis Charlie Times Square

Muslims and artists respond to the Charlie Hebdo attacks and condemn the atrocious act of terror proving free speech will prevail.

On January 7th, 2015, Muslims extremists shot up the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. While shouting Islamic slogans, they killed a dozen people. These horrific murders were provoked by satirical cartoons published in the paper in the 2000’s. Predictably, many people were outraged by these events as well as the ideology that provoked it. Anti-Islamic opinions and thoughts rose up soon after the attack on innocent people.

However, the overwhelming majority of Muslims condemn the extremists. France’s Muslim leaders condemned these men’s awful actions on Charlie Hebdo. They deemed it “barbaric” and said it was an “attack against democracy and the freedom of the press“. This reflects many Muslims’ opinions. France has the largest number of Muslims in Europe with around three and a half million followers. The French Muslim Council also stated that the group that perpetuated the attack is a “terrorist group unjustly claiming to represent Islam”. They also cautioned Muslims against radicalism.

Hours after the attack, individuals also took to twitter in response to Anti-Islamic opinions and thoughts and the shooting. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie arose and began trending on twitter. Je suis Charlie is French for “I am Charlie” and was used to condemn the murders by these extremists.

In a stand of solidarity with their fellow artists, many cartoonists drew images supporting those lost at Charlie Hebdo. Pictures featuring broken pencils and artists’ tools standing up to guns prove that freedom of speech will not succumb to the whims of terrorists. The messages promoting freedom are clear and powerful.

Break one, thousand will rise #CharlieHebdo #JeSuisCharlie #raiseyourpencil

A photo posted by Lucille Clerc (@lucille_clerc) on

While it is inspiring to see many speaking out like this, everyone must hope such an attack never happens again. The outrageous manipulation of Islam is saddening to us all. It is particularly saddening to the majority of Muslims. All the death, pain, oppression, and sadness caused by these terrorists weighs on us all.

In these times, our thoughts go towards the families of the deceased Charlie Hebdo employees. Although they are hurting the most, they are often the first to be forgotten in the big picture. As with most issues, it is in our collective hands to deal with extremist attitudes. French leaders, along with public support at rallies and on Twitter, are a large step towards this end.

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