Wider Middle East

The Controversial Echoes of Charlie Hebdo

On the morning of 7 January, two men wielding AK-47s entered the newsroom of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. With cries of “Vengeance for the Prophet Mohammed” and “Allah is great”, they killed 12 people, including two police officers. Even though the gunmen initially managed to flee the scene, the police were able, the same day, to identify the jihadist Kouachi brothers as the suspects behind the attack. Next morning they were declared wanted. A terror attack of such magnitude had not been seen in France since the unrest tied to the Algerian independence movement. On the day of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, another shooting took place in the suburb of Fontenay-aux-Roses, where some were wounded, but none killed. The gunman was apparently Amedy Coulibaly, a Kouachi sympathiser, who continued to run amok the following day, killing a female police officer on the street. 9 January marked the final act of these events. First, police tracked down the fleeing Kouachi brothers, who were killed in the subsequent shootout. But as if this were not enough, Amedy Coulibaly took hostages at a Jewish grocery store at Porte de Vincennes. Four people were killed there.

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Islamic State and al-Qaeda: Two extremisms, one face

“They deserved to die! How do you silence someone who repeatedly insults you, without any respect?” a young Somalian sharia student asked me the morning after the Charlie Hebdo attack. The terrorist attack in Paris, in which 12 people lost their lives, was the third in a series of recent attacks paralysing the world’s metropolises and causing turmoil among the international public.

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