This edition of the Insight is dedicated to the 17 souls who perished with a pull of a trigger; they included 8 staff of Charlie Hebdo, 3 national policemen, and 6 other civilians who where gunned down in hatred and by a tragically wrong cause. Business of Finance celebrates the triumph of Free Speech, Freedom of Expression, and liberal presses around the globe which our founding generations had fought so passionately for. This triumph will never smolder to a kindle; and as long as logic has its bearings on the better half of humanity, they days of evil are numbered.
The attacks against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the heart of Paris was intentioned to instil fear amongst media outlets in its exposé on the barbarity of Jihadism. The pen has proven much mightier than the sword. The Press will not be backed into fear, and the recoils from the initial attacks have proven just that. Fear nothing but fear itself.
Business of Finance is an independent news and media outlet dedicated to promulgating facts without eschewing the inconvenient truths. We understand the ongoing oppression of individuals as well as news organizations in several parts of the world; individuals that are robbed or a basic human right to express themselves freely are like a muted songbird behind stern prison bars.
We strongly believe every individual regardless of domicile is entitled to his views and opinions, and a right to express those views and opinions with minimal constraint or manipulation. It is well understood that the term "Freedom of Expression" is as vast as the cosmoses that span the universe, a subject that is difficult to exhaust. Every government will in some form or another restrict such expression to a variable degree. While we agree a fully liberal environment is too much to beggar for, there remains countless cases where someone is silenced, and in come cases, stoned to death for his or her expressions.
Wikipedia, perhaps the Internet's best bastion for such a movement, defines Freedom of Speech as such: "Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas using one's body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used."
As such, we are now in the Business to promote and support an environment in which information, be it expressed or implied, flows with great mobility with minimal intervention from governmental entities. We hope all readers show their resolute support for this movement for a Free International Press by signing to the petition we have started.
All signatures and related material collated in this petition will be directed to the International Association of Independent Journalists. The International Association of Independent Journalists (IAIJ) is a not-for-profit corporation registered nationally in Canada. It is an association and support group available for journalists around the world who may not already be affiliated with a union or guild.
If Last Year Was A Harbinger
It really seem like the world can't get enough of the melodrama spawned from the insane events of 2014. First it was the still ongoing collapse in global energy prices, then China decided the markets needed to be flummoxed even more, then the Russia's economic and financial crisis began accentuating out of control but it wasn't long before Sony began brawling like a toddler after North Korea allegedly hacked its servers. Then a hostage saga in Sydney's CBD unfolded, with close linkages to Jihadism; but thankfully causalities were limited to 3, the hostage taker himself and 2 other victims were killed; that episode was linked closely to Jihadism, tangential to Charlie Hebdo's. Before we could even catch our breaths, Greece attempted to kill Europe with a political sword but as it turned out, Europe had already committed economic suicide by slipping into deflation. Then there was the third tragedy of 2014 for aviation when AirAsia's Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea, 2 days prior to New Year's Eve.
But it didn't stop there, unfortunately...
20 Dead In Worst Terror Attack Since 1961
As we went to print with our previous market update, a drama was brewing in France. Unless our readers have been living under a rock for the past 5 days, one should know full well that France just suffered its biggest blow to Freedom of Expression in over 6 decades. The aftermaths of this Rubicon cross steeps into a vulgar nature, and having been seeded across multiple parts of the world, from which new stories are told with enchanting flourish; notwithstanding renewed debates about immigration policies and controls over the press.
Never did we imagine this poignant episode to stretch deep into the fabric that has been woven inside the hearts of Europeans. As individuals who endeavor to bring facts and truth to our beloved readers, we at Business of Finance strongly feel for the people of France, and will together with them, take the pledge of solidarity.
In totality, 17 innocent lives were lost, excluding the 3 terrorists that had together managed to rattle France (and the whole of Northern Europe for that matter). There were 3 distinct but interlinked cases of violence over the 5 days. Although all 3 terrorists have been killed, a female accomplice has been alleged to have fled to Turkey via airplane. More details later on.
Other than the 17 who died directly as a result of the 3 linked shooting incidents, one police commissioner committed suicide on the 8th of January (3 days after the first shooting at Charlie Hebdo's office), apparently from stress and depression he was exposed to after meeting with the family of one victim.
French authorities are now hunting for accomplices that were in cahoots with the 3 main assailants who were responsible for the 17 lives. Although all 3 gunmen were killed in police operations on the 9th of January, the whole of France has been placed on high terror alert with more than 14,000 extra troops deployed nationwide to buttress security particular in Paris, subway stations, media offices, and places of religious worship.
Not only was this the worst terrorist attack in the heart of Paris (and nationwide) with the most number of casualties since the Vitry-Le-François train bombing in 1961, it is also the most significant in its symbolism to the French people. How symbolic you ask? Enough to rally more than 3 million people across France to participate in solidarity marches in the chill of a Sunday morning.
Several other European leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel joined in the Sunday morning marches (dubbed the "Republican March") as a pledge in upholding Europe's high standards of Freedom of Expression.
Millions of people took part in the Republican Marches in the capital of Paris, cities across the whole of France, as throughout the world. It is estimated that between 1.5 to 2 million supporters participated in the marches in Paris alone, while 3.7 million people took part in the events in the whole of France; the largest turnout every recorded or estimated in France's history. Truly stunning.
There were also appearances of very notable figures, 44 world leaders to be precise. They attended the march in Paris out of freewill. Sharp observers would have picked up a couple of dingles within the list of key figures, but we will leave that for a later part. The highlights of this group of world leaders include French President François Hollande; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British Prime Minister David Cameron; Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy; Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority; King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan; Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu; the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov; the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.
Spot the crinkles? We have a treat installed for our readers in the under sections. But as a hint, a lot of controversy is involved.
If you were thinking about the absence of any American representative, then you are partially right. This is however not the red cherry on the cake. The absence of the US President, Obama; or any other higher ranked official for that matter has mostly spawned into a public relations and thumb sucking enigma. It is not widely believed that America had purposely refrained from participating in the Republican Marches on an official level. The White House did however note that its Ambassador to France, Jane D. Hartley, was present during the marches (why of course, she was already in Paris all along). White House Spokesman Josh Earnest responded to criticism for not sending a higher level representative on behalf of the United States: "It is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile." Earnest said the rally had been planned on Friday and President Obama attending the rally on such short notice presented "significant security challenges". Secretary of State John Kerry said he already had a prior engagement in India. The criticism has now waned as America affirms it support to France.
The first attacks on Chalie Hebdo's offices at 10 Rue Nicolas-Appert on 7 January 2015 at approximately 1130 CET (Central European Time, GMT+1) claimed the lives of 12 individuals: 11 in the office compound; 1 on the adjacent street. Of the 12 killed, 2 were national police officers - one was killed within the office compound, the other on a pavement across the street. Below, we provide more details courtesy of Wikipedia:
The 12 that were killed in the initial assault on Charlie Hebdo's offices
- Frédéric Boisseau, age 42, killed in the lobby where he was seated
- Building maintenance worker for Sodexo. Frédéric was the first victim of the assault
- French national
- Stéphane Charbonnier, age 47, killed in an office room
- Cartoonist, columnist, and editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo. After working for several newspapers and magazines, he joined Charlie Hebdo in 1992 and became its editor in 2009
- Lived with police protection since 2011 after old Charlie Hebdo offices firebombed
- French national
- Franck Brinsolaro, age 49, killed in the office
- Protection service police officer, assigned as a bodyguard for Stéphane Charbonnier
- French national
- Jean Cabut, age 76, killed in an office room
- Cartoonist and shareholder of Charlie Hebdo. He was also a caricaturist and comic strip artist in the past
- French national
- Elsa Cayat, age 54, killed in an office room
- Psychoanalyst, columnist of Jewish religion. Wrote a biweekly column "Le Divan" ('"The Couch") in Charlie Hebdo
- Only woman to die in the assault. Death rumored to be due to Jewish descent, while assailants spared other women, they didn't spare her
- French national, Jewish descent
- Philippe Honoré, age 74, killed in an office room
- Staff cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo. Last tweet on Twitter was a cartoon depicting ISIS leader offering New Year wishes
- French national
Bernard Maris, age 68, killed in an office room
Economist, writer and journalist who was a shareholder of Charlie Hebdo, holding an 11% stake in 1992 when the magazine was reborn
Ahmed Merabet, age 42, killed on the pavement across the street
Police officer of Algerian descent. Was a Muslim, whose brother had condemned his brutal killings; Merabet was shot in the head by one of gunmen as he lay wounded on the pavement across the street of Charlie Hebdo's office
French national, Algerian descent
Mustapha Ourrad, age 60, killed in an office room
Copy editor of Charlie Hebdo. Was a Muslim
French national, Algerian descent
Michel Renaud, age 69, killed in an office room
Guest at the meeting. 15 staff members were having an editorial meeting, the magazine's first in 2015
Bernard Verlhac, age 57, killed in an office room
Cartoonist and collaborator at Charlie Hebdo. Started work with the magazine in 1980
Georges David Wolinski, age 80, killed in an office room
Cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo, and comics writer. Served as editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo from 1961 to 1970. Was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2005
French national, Tunisian descent
Apart from the 12 who were killed in the assault, there were 11 others who were wounded, some seriously and are still in critical condition today. Amongst the critically wounded are:
- Simon Fieschi who was a webmaster at Charlie Hebdo and was shot in his shoulder with the bullet hitting his spinal vertebra and puncturing a lung; Simon is in an induced coma after surgery
- Philippe Lancon who was a journalist with Charlie Hebdo and was shot in the face; he remains hospitalized in critical condition
- Fabrice Nicolino who was also a journalist with Charlie Hebdo, was shot in the leg
- Laurent Sourisseau, a cartoonist, was shot in the shoulder
There were also an unidentified number of police officers who were injured during the standoff lasting more than 15 minutes. Our heartfelt condolences to the aforementioned individuals and their families, as well as those unmentioned. All of them will be remembered as sacrifices paid to defend France's Freedom of Expression.
Schematics Of The Attack
Wikipedia has more on the official reactions of foreign nations which highlights just how huge the blowback from this series of incidents has been. To wit:
Jihadist Threats Continue To Mount
News just broke that in light of the happenings in France over the past week, Al Qaeda has issued a series of new threats saying "France pays the cost of its violence on Muslim countries and the violation of their sanctity. As long as its soldiers occupy countries such as Mali and Central Africa and bombard our people in Syria and Iraq, and as long as its lame media continues to undermine our Prophet (Mohammed), France will expose itself to the worst and more."
The message was posted on a couple of jihadist websites by an affiliate branch of Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The statements verbatim were released earlier on Tuesday, 13th January, just one day before the victimized Magazine is set to publish at least 3 million copies (instead of its usual 60,000) of a shortened weekly featuring the Prophet Mohammed depicted in a cartoon on its front cover. The new weekly will hit newsstands on Wednesday, 14th January and is expected to receive unprecedented reception. A version dubbed the "survivor's issue" will be made available to those outside France.
Going into more detail, the cover cartoon features a drawing of a frowning Prophet Mohammed with a teardrop coming from left his eye. The backdrop bares in French, "Toutest Pardonné", translating to "All is forgiven". In the Prophet's hands, there is a sign that reads "Je suis Charlie" or "I am Charlie". This phrase has seen viral use on social media with it being adopted in almost all street rallies and unity marches; the hashtags "#JesuisCharlie" and "#CharlieHebdo" are now the most used in over a year, eclipsing that of other popular events such as "#TheInterview" and "#Ferguson".
Apart from direct threats from the aforementioned terror organizations, the attacks throughout last week have satirically enjoyed (sic) no dearth of support from brainwashed individuals who were obviously well learned in backward era. It should come as no big surprise to readers that some of the persons mentioned below reside in first world countries, but harbor dementing resentment to anyone who, in their eyes, do not live in parallel to the 'teachings' of 'Allah'.
We start with a British Islamist who somehow was invited on USA Today (a popular American news and opinion outlet) to write an editorial, in which he justifies the killings of Charlie Hebdo with words from the Prophet himself; those who insult prophets should face death, Prophet Mohammed must be protected to minimize future conflagrations. Here is a well grown Englishman turned 'Islamist' who professes exchanging blood for a few uttered syllabus. We have no comment. If readers are curious about the person behind these words, here is Anjem Choudary.
As a note, 'words' that appear in apostrophes refers to what we feel are pretexts in the inherent meanings of that word in its real essence. A person claiming to be an Islamist might not actually be one, neither is a person that calls himself a 'holy' fighter truly holy.
Another person, this time in the form of an 'Islamic preacher' named Junaid Thorne. He supports the Charlie Hebdo attacks blatantly saying the same thing the previous fella implied - that it is perfectly fine to exchange blood for mere utterance. To quote him, he said: "If you want to enjoy 'freedom of speech' with no limits, expect others to exercise 'freedom of action'." Again, we are lost for words. This fella also comes from Australia, a first world nation.
Here is someone who adds peppercorns to an already spicy dish. Meet Yaqub Qureishi, leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party and former Minister from Uttar Pradesh in India. This fella has offered the same reward of 500 million Rupees (approximately $8mn) he dangled as bounty in 2006 for the head of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard whom too drew satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed; this time however, this fella wants to reward the 'Islamic' group that coordinated the Charlie Hebdo Shootings. Money isn't an issue for these fellas it seems.
Having gained worldwide attention on center stage last year, the terror group ISIS has of course chipped in with its two cents. The terrorists have commended the killings, and upheld the 3 gunmen who were directly responsible for the 17 deaths. Besides ISIS and Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab (another terror group with a major presence in Somalia) has voiced its approval.
As we peel into this nasty onion, we reveal yet more support for the violence and bloodshed in fringe media. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, two Islamist newspapers this time in Turkey disgusted the majority of its citizens when it ran headlines justifying the attack. The newspapers in question are the Yeni Akit, and Türkiye; the former titled its article "Attack on the magazine that provoked Muslims", while the latter what more forefront with "Attack on the magazine that insulted our Prophet".
The world is no stranger to Turkey's treatment of foreign journalists, and with Turkey holding the most number of foreign journalists captive in prison back in early 2014 when its President Recep Tayyio Erdogan (remember this name) was ensnared in a corruption crisis that left Ankara in a political quagmire, expect more of such nonsense from that region. As apt as this topic coalesces with that on hand, we refrain from delving too deep for now.
Afghanistan, the land where everything that could have gone wrong for America (and the West), has gone wrong, saw its people hold rallies praising and elevating the attack and attackers behind the Charlie Hebdo shootings as "heroes" after having "meted out punishment for cartoons disrespectful to Islam's prophet". This is more understandable than if such tit-for-tat were seen in developed countries. In all analogues we have described, all have used the religion 'Islam' as a euphemism, and as a shield for confirming one's bias. These fellas it seems only know 2 colors - black and white. In other words, these fellas know only the extremes; the extremes of poverty, ideology, radicalism, conservatism, corruption, affluence, opulence et al. No shades of grey exists. On one hand this seems a little unfortunate, to be borne on the unlucky side of the ovarian roulette. But on the other, it takes a generous deal of tolerance not to blow the roof off the house in protest. 2015 might just be the turn of the 17th century for these folks. We urge tolerance. Lots of it.
Civil Society Lambasts Barbaric Acts
As the platitudes continue to reign in by the minute, we are delighted to say that from our experience with events on such a scale, the good still trumps bad. International condemnation has been all the rage in the aftermath of France's deadliest terror attacks since 1961. French President François Hollande immediately took to the podium to address his nation, quickly calling the incident as "undoubtedly a terrorist attack... several other terrorists attacks were thwarted in recent week... a terrorist attack of the most extreme barbarity... slain journalists were heroes." The 8th of January was declared as a day of national mourning. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo addressed demonstrators by condemning the attacks but also reaffirming his country's national values of Free Speech: "What we saw today was an attack on the values of our republic, Paris is a peaceful place. These cartoonists, writers and artists used their pens with a lot of humor to address sometimes awkward subjects and as such performed an essential function." The Mayor also proposed that Charlie Hebdo "be adopted as a citizen of honor," promulgating the positive message that the "pen is mightier than the sword".
The Prime Minister of France chimed by saying that it wasn't Muslims that were to be blamed for the tragedy, but terrorism and extremism: "The terrorists’ religion is not Islam, which they are betraying. It's barbarity." This is something also echoed by various world leaders including the POTUS, Obama; Obama has actually called on his administration to clam down on all training materials used for law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive. Our readers will know that extremism stretches far and wide across a compendium of topics, some deemed too sensitive to wrangle about; but events like the Charlie Hebdo shootings are slowly focusing lawmakers and governments to look deeper into these seismic trends that pose increasingly high threats on the world's stability.
Other than French officials, global leaders such as US President Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, among others, have condemned the attacks. We have seen unprecedented levels of unity on the executive level of world politics; possibly indicating the concerted effort by the powers that be to thwart the escalating collateral being held by terrorists mainly driven by Jihadism. Although this has yet translated into material gains in the front of stifling major terror groups such as ISIS and Boko Harram (which was reported to have just massacred more than 2,000 in its worst attack in Nigeria), we should start to see the agenda breaking inertia as global leaders congregate later in February.
Notable mentions include former Malaysian Prime Minister who denounced the shootings. However, he was not in favor of Charlie Hebdo's works saying that it was guilty of "religious provocation". India's public has also shown support for Charlie Hebdo after openly chastising former Union Minister, currently Indian National Congress senior leader Mani Shankar Aiyar; the leader had previously defended the attacks on the magazine through national TV and social media; after which the inevitable happened when he received widespread condemnation and heavy backlash, loosing followers en mass. His reason for defending the Charlie Hebdo attacks? Well, nothing more than France's involvement in the Afghan and Iraqi wars.
A few English speaking press and media outlets have also launch their own form of retaliations to the brutal murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists by republishing some of the Magazine's controversial cartoons on their websites in the immediacy of the shootings. News outlets with global audiences such as Bloomberg News, The Huffington Post, Vox Media, The Washington Free Beacon were one group that languish the killings by parading the crisis with positive zest, which also serves as a solidarity pledge that the global press shall not be muted by terrorism and threats by madmen with frayed beards. Apart from the popular media, lesser known names such as Germany's Berliner Kurier, Hamburger Morgenpost (its offices were partially razed by Muslim attackers at dawn following its publication of the cartoons), Gazeta Wyborcza (Polish newspaper), and Danish tabloid B.T (published drawing of the Prophet Mohammed lamenting being loved by "idiots"). LifeNews and Komsomolskaya Pravda (both Russian) took the chance to launch attacks against America, saying that it was behind the attacks; obviously, the world has largely ignored ridiculous propositions such as those.
On the contrary of course, there were news agencies who refrained from covering the events with Charlie Hebdo cartoons; these include The New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera America, The Associated Press, and the Daily Telegraph. The BBC stood on the line by publishing the cartoons but considered reviewing its guidelines pertaining to censorship. Presses that refrained from publishing the Charlie Hebdo drawings were also accused by the public of self-censorship.
Media organizations joined in with the flurry of news agencies in protesting against the attacks with several French media outlets like Libération, Le Monde, Le Figaro et al, campaigned with black banners with the popular slogan "Je suis Charlie" (meaning "I am Charlie") posted at the top of their respective websites. Libération ' printed version was a different black banner with another popular slogan "Nous sommes tous Charlie" (meaning "We are all Charlie"), while Paris Normandie renamed itself Charlie Normandie for the day. The French, and later the UK, versions of Google displayed visualizations of a black ribbon to moan the attacks the following day. Camaraderie was potently prevalent in France's neighbors with British press and media outlets pledging their support for their counterparts across the English Channel. British satirical magazine Private Eye had its chief editor Ian Hislop saying in a statement "I am appalled and shocked by this horrific attack - a murderous attack in free speech in the heart of Europe... Very little seems funny today." Besides organized media outlets, independent journalists and artists across the globe started their individual protests by releasing cartoons relating to the shooting; a prime example being Albert Uderzo (a retired French artist and journalist who founded Astérix, a satirical media outlet) depicting his title character supporting Charlie Hebdo. As a reference, the gentleman is 87 years of age, but still young in the spirit it seems. Besides Albert Uderzo, David Pope from the Australia's Canberra Times (widely considered as the country's iconic and national reaction in all its artisan glory) draw a cartoon with a masked, black-clad figure holding a smoking gun standing over a slumped figure of an artists drowned in a pool of crimson blood, inside a speech balloon reads the words "He drew first". Such a depiction is has elegantly paraphrased the zeitgeist of the entire Charlie Hebdo saga and the jihadist motivations behind the violence. Such depictions have been popularly celebrated both online and in the real world.
What is perhaps a little more sobering is that the world has been seeing support from predominantly Muslim countries, something that a majority of people would not associate the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo with. We reiterate that no religion was behind the gruesome butchery of 7 January, neither Muslims nor Jews were to blame, but extremism and terrorism. The Egyptian Daily Al-Masty Al-Youn featured drawings by young cartoonists signed with "Je suis Charlie" (meaning "I am Charlie"), standing firmly in solidarity with the victims of that fateful day. Al-Masry Al-Youm also displayed on their website a slide show of some Charlie Hebdo cartoons, including controversial ones. This was seen by analyst Jonathan Guyer as a "surprising" and maybe "unprecedented" move, due to the pressure Arab artists can be subject to when depicting religious figures in the region. As another note to our readers, not only is Egypt one of the largest regions of Muslims in the entire world, it is also the founding grounds of the Muslim Brotherhood; predominant inhabited by Sunni believers, the country also faces its own set of political and religious dogmas that have been indoctrinated in the sands of time. Hence, it should really come as a pleasant surprise that Al-Masry Al-Youm would boldly express their support for the French.
Of course just wish anything else, global media has been awash with shenanigans from protagonists of violence, again in a tit-for-tat fashion. Cringe worthy indeed. English newspaper The Guardian reported a day after the initial shootings at Charlie Hebdo, that "other Muslims said they would only condemn the Paris attack if France condemned the killings of Muslims worldwide," implying that there was inherent wrongness in the expressions of Charlie Hebdo in the the first place. The fragment of though also proves the point of interconnectedness, when the apparent crimes that took place on the 7th January was only wrong in the eyes of those 'Muslims' if France apologizes for its involvement in anti-terror operations across the Middle East. We have no comment, again. Even more startling to behold was the comments from Al Jazeera English's editor and executive producer, Salah-Aldeen Khadr, who went on the offensive writing in a staff-wide email saying: "Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile." His comments have drawn various responses from within the agency, but we feel the timing and context of such a comment is obtusely inapt.
Then there are words of logic from the smarter people that restores some hope in humanity, such as Zvi Bar'el of Haaretz arguing that that believing the attackers represented Muslims was like believing that Ratko Mladić represented Christians. The brazen organization Reporters Without Borders felt that the mere fact leaders of countries widely deemed to guilty of press censorship and manipulation (Russia, Turkey, Egypy, the UAE et al) was heresy on an unimaginable level. To wit, it said: "On what grounds are representatives of regimes that are predators of press freedom coming to Paris to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo, a publication that has always defended the most radical concept of freedom of expression?" We agree wholeheartedly. More on this heresy later on as we peel yet deeper into this mess.
It came to the pride of the hacktivist community on Tuesday (13th January) that the Anonymous hacking collective had targeted specific Jihadist websites and related social media accounts linked to the support of terrorism on the false grounds of religion (Islam); it said it aims to disrupt those websites and ultimately shut them down. Anonymous has previously been the ire of the mainstream community because of its sometimes unscrupulous activities of hacking government websites. But through its announcement that it was offering condolences to the families of the victims and also condemnation of the attacks as an "inhuman assault" by addressing Al Qaeda with this statement, "a message for Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and other terrorists - we are declaring war against you, the terrorists,", it might start to see consensus over its name shift into a nice light. We praise the works of Anonymous.
Islam Not Blamed, Muslims Condemn Attack
As we have said from the onset, no religion is to be blamed for this tragedy. It is a case of using religion in a euphemistic fashion to justify usage of violence. While there are an infinite number of views on this and the degree of which satire should be used as a means of expression, we shall just present what some of these Muslims have said; that Islam was not behind the attacks, and Jihadism is a far cry from what their religion signifies.
We start with the brother of Ahmed Merabet, one of the national police officers who was killed while trying to combat the gunmen's rampage. Ahmed was a Muslim; his brother, Malek Merabet also is. He condemns the terrorists saying "My brother was Muslim and he was killed by two terrorists, by two false Muslims." From the horse's mouth. Terrorists are not religious people.
Islamic nations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Qatar among others have collectively denounced the attack as a religious one. Egypt's Al Azhar University (considered to be the leading Sunni institution of the Muslim world), joined in efforts to dispel misconceptions that Muslims were behind the attacks, saying: "violence was never appropriate regardless of the offense committed against sacred Muslim sentiments." We believe that there are vested interests by these select group of organizations to defend that what is rightfully correct; apart from their sincere sentiments and condolences to the victims of the terror attack. Various other Islamic organizations, like the French Council of the Muslim Faith, the Muslim Council of Britain and Islamic Forum of Europe spoke out against the attack, with Sheikh Abdul Qayum and Imam Dalil Boubakeur stating, "we are horrified by the brutality and the savagery." The Union of Islamic Organisations of France released a statement condemning the attack, along with Imam Hassen Chalghoumi saying that those behind the attack "have sold their soul to hell". Intense language continues to weigh in up till today.
In what we believe to be sensationalized, the Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands, hours after the initial Charlie Hebdo shootings, condemned the all Islamist extremists living in the West who "turn against freedom". The real catch? The Morocco-born Muslim cursed the radical Islamists by asking them to "fuck off". We apologize to readers who are offended, because there is no better way to illustrate the frustration most of the proper Muslim community feels towards extremists.
The American-based Muslim civil liberties group, the Council on American–Islamic Relations, condemned the attacks and defended the right to free speech, "even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures". The vice president of the US Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also condemned the attack, saying: "The culprits behind this atrocity have violated every Islamic tenet of compassion, justice, and peace." The National Council of Canadian Muslims, a Muslim civil liberties organization, also condemned the attacks. The League of Arab States released a collective condemnation of the attack. Furthermore, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned the attack, saying that it went against Islam's principles and values.
Although we wish to espouse our opinions on the official Turkish reaction later on in this memorial journal, we shall also state that the vast majority of sentiments in the Anatolia Peninsula is against the attacks and against extremism. Readers are encouraged to check back for updates because we wish to provide more color on this. This notwithstanding, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu did raise concerns about the attack being used as fodder to fuel Islamophobia in France and Europe as a whole. This stance, as the foreign monster referred to, has itself been responsible for terrorism in Europe. Echoing Mevlüt concerns was the Dutch Council of Moroccan Mosques, which was worried that heightened tensions could well result in violent manifestations of Islamophobia in the Netherlands. Apart from the paradox that is Turkey, we wish to harp a little on the relevance of Islamophobia in a European context; this is a phenomenon that has gained a lot of traction in recent days, especially in the core of Europe - Germany in particular.
Moving on, both the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Hamas Government of the Gaza Strip condemned the attack and stated that "differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder", while the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, also condemned the terrorists, declaring that "terrorists groups" had insulted Islam more than "even those who have attacked the Prophet", probably referring to Charlie Hebdo.
Protests, Rallies, and Marches Of Solidarity
Mass demonstrations were also held in cites the likes of Berlin (Germany), Rome & Bologna (Italy), Brussels (Belgium), Moscow (Russia), and Sydney & Brisbane (Australia). See the images from these demonstrations including those from the "Republican Marches" held throughout France on the 11th of January. Australia has been the latest to restart debates over the degree of which the press are allowed to express their views, especially on controversial and volatile topics. As a note, Australia is widely viewed as having stability issues with asylum seekers arriving at its shores; something that is also used as a political bargaining chip and remains controversial and hotly debated.