UNITED NATIONS – Joining President Obama, the United Nations avoided associating Islam with the deadly attack Wednesday against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Meanwhile, Islamic jihadist websites internationally are claiming a great victory, declaring the attack by well-trained and well-armed gunmen that killed at least 12 people, including four senior magazine editors, avenged the honor of Islam’s founder. Charlie Hebdo drew international attention in 2006 when it defiantly republished cartoons from the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten that mocked Muhammad.
Terror expert Daniel Kochis explained to WND that the unwillingness of public officials to “Islamic terrorists” as the culprits of such attacks makes it more difficult to stop them, “because you’re not getting to the ideological basis behind the violence.”
“There is a public relations push by a lot of Islamic organizations that if you say anything against Islam or even question Islam as the basis for these attacks, then you are ‘Islamophobic.’ And that’s something the Obama administration and the United Nations are both very careful avoid,” he said.
“We need to identify the ideology behind these attacks if we are to effectively combat these attacks.”
Kochis said a serious discussion is needed about the threat of ISIS fighters returning from the Middle East to Western countries and domestic terrorism in general.
“Until the West recognizes the religious underpinnings of this kind of violence, understanding those foundations, it’s something we’re never going to be able to defeat completely,” he said.
Kochis noted that U.S. intelligence currently is tracking some 100 American citizens known to be in the Middle East supporting ISIS.
Still, he said, it is yet uncertain whether the perpetrators in the Paris attack were “home-grown” terrorists from the Muslim communities in Paris or fighters from ISIS or al-Qaida from the Middle East.
“France is having a very difficult time integrating Muslim immigrants into French society,” he observed. “Attacks coming from these disaffected Muslim immigrant communities in Europe reflect people who don’t feel they have any stake in the country and really don’t identify with the ethos and the values within those nations.”
Author and filmmaker Joel Richardson, whose documentary “End Times Eyewitness” interviews top Muslim scholars, said the “sad fact is that the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris are the new normal.”
“Tonight the pundits and commentators will make their statements, France may experience a very short-lived scoot to the right, but long-term nothing will change,” he said. “These things are only going to increase.”
Richardson, also author of “The Islamic AntiChrist,” said that while he is regarded as “a fierce critic of Islam, I would very strongly encourage people not to fall into the easy trap of either hating all Muslims, or becoming more fearful and terrorized.”
“I believe that as Christians we should be the least anxious, fearful and terrorized of anyone. As Christians, we have not been given a spirit of fear, even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are not afraid,” he said.
“Ultimately our hope is to be in the age to come. As this present world continues to melt down around us, our hope is in a heavenly kingdom. But the bottom line is, these things are all going to continue to increase globally, and there is no military or political solution that is going to change that. The only solution is for Christians to truly reclaim the confidence and hope that comes from the gospel.”
U.N. sidesteps ‘Islam’
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the attack as an appalling and “cold-blooded crime” committed by terrorists.
“This act of violence can in no way be justified. This is an attack against freedom of expression and freedom of the press – the two pillars of democracy,” he said.
Carefully avoiding any reference to Islam, Ban couched his remarks as defending freedom of expression, without specifically identifying who or what was attacking free speech.
“This horrific attack is meant to divide. We must not fall into that trap,” Ban continued. “This is a moment for solidarity. Around the world, we must stand strong for freedom of expression and tolerance and stand against forces of division and hate.”
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad Al Hussein also avoided reference to Islam in condemning the Paris attack.
“I utterly condemn the appalling and ruthless attack on media workers and police officers in Paris earlier today, and urge anyone who has information that could help to locate the individuals who planned or carried out this hideous crime to immediately bring it to the attention of the French authorities, before other lives are lost,” Hussein said. “Freedom of expression and opinion are a cornerstone for any democratic society. Those trying to divide communities on grounds of religion, ethnicity or any other reason must not be allowed to succeed.”
Instead of condemning Islamic terrorists, Hussein pleaded for Europeans not to react against Islam in their anger over the terrorist attack.
“If this attack is allowed to feed discrimination and prejudice, it will be playing straight into the hands of extremists whose clear aim is to divide religions and societies,” Hussein continued. “With xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments already on the rise in Europe, I am very concerned that this awful, calculated act will be exploited by extremists of all sorts.”
UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova’s comments followed the United Nations line, refusing to mention Islam while characterizing the jihadist attack as an attack on free speech by unspecified criminals.
“I am horrified by this shocking attack against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo,” said UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova. “My heart goes out to the families of the bereaved and to those who have been injured.”
She said it is “more than a personal tragedy.”
“It is an attack on the media and freedom of expression. The world community cannot allow extremists to silence the free flow of opinions and ideas. The perpetrators of this attack must be brought to justice and UNESCO is ever more determined to stand for a free and independent press.”
Islamic jihad supporters celebrate
The Middle East Media Research Institute in Washington, MEMRI, has documented Islamic jihad supporters celebrating the attack online.
Members of the pro-ISIS forum Jihadi Media Platform (alplatformmedia.com) lashed out at France, MEMRI reported within hours of the Paris attack.
MEMRI documented the following comments from members of the forum:
- A member called Al-Dia’ Al-Gharib wrote: “France was [once] part of the land of Islam and will return to be the land of Islam, in spite the worshippers of the Cross.”
- Another, who goes by the name Muhib Al-Salihin, wrote: “France is one of the harshest enemies of Islam and of the Islamic State in particular.”
- Forum member Abu Al-Qassem Al-Shawqi commented: “[This] is news that quenches the thirst for revenge. By Allah, beloved ones, let us not think lightly of prayers. By Allah, [the attackers] are soldiers of Allah.”
- A forum member calling himself Abu Bakr Al-Zarini remarked: “Congratulations to France and to its people for reaping what their hands sowed. Did these evil cartoonists think that we were a nation that would remain silent in face of those who insult our Prophet? Did [French President Francois] Hollande and the governments that preceded him think that their interventions and despotism in the lands of the Muslims would not be met with retribution? No, by Allah, from now on the youths of Islam will no longer remain silent, especially since we have a state [ISIS] to mobilize armies if anybody insults the nation of Islam.”
Arabic-speaking jihad supporters celebrated the attack on Twitter, with some using the Arabic hashtag “Paris is Burning.” Contributors shared videos of the attack, calling the shooters “heroes” and praising them for avenging the honor of Islam and Muhammad.
MEMRI documented the following Arabic-speaking jihad supporters posting on Twitter:
- Najam (@35njm), wrote: “#Paris Is Burning. Oh Allah slaughter them, Allah attack them. This newspaper insulted the Messenger of Allah and Islam.”
- ISIS supporter Hamel Al-Liwa’ (@blue964) tweeted: “Fear prevails among the newspapers and journalists who hate Islam. There are demands for military protection of the paper headquarters. #Paris is turning into a military barracks.”
- Another ISIS supporter, Al-Khilafa Hiya Al-Hal [“the Caliphate is the solution”] (@death4x), shared a video of the attack and commented: “France turned the lands of the Muslims into battlefields, and now the Muslims have turned Paris into a battlefield. Allah Akbar.”
MEMRI also tracked the following Twitter posts from French-speaking jihad supporters:
- Abou Hafs (@Ansar_Al_Ouma) tweeted: “Oh Allah, the honor of your prophet has been cleansed.”
- Another French-speaking jihad supporter, Al Furat Wadijlah (@AlFuratWadijlah), commented on the attack: “An RPG7 with Kalashnikovs, it’s a well prepared assault.”
- French ISIS fighter Abu-Talhal (@Abu-Talhal ) expressed regret that the shooters did not have cameras mounted on their guns: “They were lone wolves [smiley] haha. A go-pro ‘camera’ on their AK47s, walking to Charlie Hebdo, that would be nice.”
- French-speaking jihad supporter Ibn Mustafa (@Ibn_mustafa_51), like many others who commented, reminded his readers that the Shariah punishment for insulting Allah and Muhammad is death: “This is the status and punishment in Islam for those who insult Allah and his messenger.”
- ISIS supporter Kheyrad dine (@Kheyradine) warned against the reaction of the French authorities: “There will certainly be many arrests of pro-ISIS brothers, [so] arm yourselves and don’t turn your backs. Be soldiers of Allah.”
- Kheyrad dine added a threat to the French president: “Die in your rage. … Haha, the next one is the president, Inshallah. … Brothers, fire up the volcanoes of Jihad, go forth to paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth. Allah’s victory is close! The hearts of the infidels are trembling, Allah be praised! As for the news about the brothers [who carried out the attack], may Allah grant them the highest of ranks! Pray for them!”
MEMRI also pointed out the group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) put Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier on a “most wanted” poster published its English-language magazine, Inspire, in March 2013.