Charlie Hebdo: a struggle within Islam
Paris (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The leaders of Muslim-majority nations have strongly condemned the terrorist attack that took place yesterday in the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. All dissociate themselves from the gesture, which killed at least 12 people, saying that "that is not Islam." Yet, witnesses claim that at least one of the two perpetrators shouted "Allah Akhbar" and "we have avenged the prophet", perhaps in reference to the publication of cartoons of Muhammad, spread in the newspaper years ago. Last week, the pages were devoted to a satire against the "Caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State.
Meanwhile, the French police this morning released the photo of two of the suspected assailants: Cherif Kouachi, 32 (at left in the photo) and Said Kouachi, 34 (right). One of them was identified, after leaving an identity document in the car with which they fled after the attack. A third suspect handed himself over voluntarily to the police, after seeing his name mentioned in the media. He is Hamyd Mourad, 18 years.
Police said that previously the two brothers had been charged with terrorism. Cherif had been charged with criminal conspiracy and terrorism in 2005, when he was arrested while for leaving for Iraq, to reach Islamist militants.
In France the alert has been raised to the highest level, after this attack judged one of the bloodiest in nearly 50 years. Meanwhile the world has expressed its condolences for the victims, and condemns the violence of the attack.
The Vatican, with a note from the director of the Vatican Press, Fr. Federico Lombardi, condemned the "horrific attack", branding the "homicidal violence"as "abominable" and asking everyone to "engage with perseverance ... to heal deeply the sources and causes of hatred" not only in France, but also in the world.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack as "horrendous, unjustifiable, a cold-blooded crime."
Among the condemnations and condolences of world leaders, there stand out the positions of the Muslim leaders, who distance themselves from the attack, accusing the perpetrators of not being the "true Islam".
The University of Al-Azhar, the most respected institution in the Sunni Muslim world, talking about this "criminal act" stated that "Islam denounces all violence." The Organization of the Islamic Conference has condemned the attack and a spokesman for the Centre for the Islamophobia - based in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) - said that violence and radicalism are "the greatest enemies of Islam."
Condemnations of the terrorist act come from Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey, which reiterates its being "against all forms of terror wherever it comes from."
From Iran, the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said that every terrorist act against innocent human life is contrary to the teaching of Islam. But he added that "these actions are a continuation of radical waves and physical attacks that have spread around the world over the last 10 years, and [the fruit] of incorrect policies and double standards in dealing with extremism and violence."
Even for Saudi Arabia the killings of Paris are "incompatible with the Islamic religion." For the foreign minister of the Emirates, "these terrible criminal acts require cooperation and solidarity at all levels to eradicate this threat."
Even Malaysia strongly condemns the violence and expressed closeness to the French people, proposing to "fight extremism with moderation"
The French Council of the Muslim religion condemned the "barbaric" act and asked everyone to "commit to the values of the Republic and democracy, and to avoid provocations that will only add fuel to the fire."