The brother of murdered police officer Ahmed Merabet, who was shot dead by terrorists who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris has spoken out and denounced the killers as "pretend" Muslims.
"My brother was Muslim and he was killed by people who pretend to be Muslims," Malek Merabet told the Huffington Post. "They are terrorists, that's it. Islam is a religion of peace and love. As far as my brother's death is concerned it was a waste. He was very proud of the name Ahmed Merabet, proud to represent the police and of defending the values of the Republic—liberty, equality, fraternity."
Ahmed's lifeless body was shown on TV screens across the world as the Kouachi brothers continued their deadly assault. He was reportedly injured and then murdered by Cherif and Said as they moved towards the Charlie Hebdo offices in order to "avenge the Prophet." The two were reportedly upset at the way images of the Prophet had been portrayed in the satirical paper. They were able to elude police and hide in the woods before emerging, taking a woman hostage, and eventually holing up in a print manufacturing building. The standoff came to an end when they came out of the building and fired at police; police fired back, killing the brothers. more >>
What lesson will Europe draw from the Charlie Hebdo massacre? Will it get serious about ending Muslim extremism within its borders, or will it try even harder to curb offensive political cartoons and speech about Islam? Up to this point, Europe has responded to Islamist violence in retaliation against ridicule, and even against sober critique of Islam, by taking the latter course.
In 2008, the EU mandated religious hate-speech laws, with European officials indignantly declaring that there is "no right to religious insult." More revealingly, one official European commission delicately explained that this measure was taken to "preserve social peace and public order" in light of the "increasing sensitivities" of "certain individuals" who "have reacted violently to criticism of their religion."
Europe was frightened and wanted to cool down its angry Muslim populations and appease the censorship lobby that claims to represent them in the 56-member-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Since 2004, it had seen the assassination of Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street for his and Ayaan Hirsi Ali's film on abuses against Muslim women; worldwide Muslim riots and economic boycotts over an obscure Danish newspaper's caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed; and yet more rioting and murders after Pope Benedict presented a paper to an academic audience at Regensburg University that questioned Islam's position on reason. The subjective hate-speech laws were intended to placate those — including Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, who in 1989 issued a fatwa against novelist Salman Rushdie — who demand that Europe police its own citizens for conformity to Islamic blasphemy codes. European leaders insisted that this could be accomplished while somehow still upholding Western principles of free speech. more >>
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is set to feature the Muslim prophet Mohammad holding the sign "Je suis Charlie" on the cover of its first edition since the terror attack on its offices last week that killed 12 people. Drawings of the Islamic holy figure are largely believed to be the reason why Muslim gunmen targeted the newspaper in the attack.
Reuters reported that the magazine is planning to print 3 million copies of Wednesday's edition, which is many times more than its regular run of 60,000 copies. Beside the drawing of Muhammad, the cover includes the text "Tout est pardonné," meaning "All is forgiven."
Two gunmen killed 12 cartoonists in the attack on Charlie Hebdo's offices last week, while 17 people in total died in related attacks across the city. The magazine has a history of publishing drawings of Muhammad, seen as offensive by many in the Islamic world, and has seen its offices firebombed in the past. more >>
A variety of voices are responding to HBO host Bill Maher's recent controversial comments that hundreds of millions of Muslim people supported the terror attacks in Paris last week that killed 17 people, and some conservatives have backed his views.
Maher, who in the past few months has made a series of comments critical to Islam, said in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live that while he knows most Muslim people wouldn't have carried out an attack like the one in France, "hundreds of millions of them" supported the actions.
"They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, we don't approve of violence, but you know what, when you make fun of the prophet, all bets are off," Maher claimed. more >>
Theologian James Emery White questions whether many in America who so easily embraced the global outrage in the defense of freedom of expression as the result of the murderous attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo would be as quick to defend the rights of others to express moral standards different than their own.
In his blog post, "Are You Charlie?" White quotes Brian Pellot who reflected: "I do not consider myself racist, homophobic, Islamophobic or misogynistic. 'Being Charlie' doesn't mean being any of these things, despite what you think about the magazine's tact and tone. … As advocates for freedom of expression we must sometimes defend views we find repulsive. This doesn't require us to endorse them. In this case, we must protect what gunmen tried to kill, a satirical magazine some deem offensive. #JeSuisCharlie simply means, 'I defend freedom of expression.'"
White then responds: "Yes. But it's easy to side with such a sentiment when it comes to the exercise of free press in the face of senseless terrorism which seeks to silence it. It's not so easy when it comes to allowing people to live by convictional standards that seemingly draw into question your own." more >>
An enraged Muslim mob in the Punjab province of Pakistan has prevented a family from burying their loved one, who was previously imprisoned for blasphemy, in their village graveyard. Aabid Mehmood was kidnapped and murdered by masked gunmen after his release.
After 52-year-old Mehmood, who owned a hotel in the Kamra village, claimed in 2011 that he was a prophet of Allah, his own son-in-law filed a blasphemy case against him. After spending over two years in jail, Mehmood was released from prison because of his mentally and physically unstable condition.
As Dawn.com reports, just days after Mehmood's release from prison, he was kidnapped from his home in Ahatta by masked extremists. His body was found last Wednesday near a train station with numerous bullet wounds to the head and chest. more >>