French Muslim organisations have condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack which left 12 dead in Paris today and have urged Muslims to be vigilant against reprisals.
Muslim umbrella organisation L’Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF) and the Paris Mosque both issued statements in the aftermath of the attack.
The UOIF said it “condemns in the strongest terms this terrorist attack. No murders as abject and unjust as these can be associated in any way with Islam or Muslims.
“An attack against a newspaper is an attack against freedom, against democracy. It is an unspeakable and unacceptable act. The UOIF lamets all victims incluing the illustrious cartoonists Cabu, Wolinski, Charb and Tignous.
“The UOIF hopes that the perpetrators will soon be arrested and severely punished. It identifies with the grief of the families and the entire staff of Charlie Hebdo and presents its condolences.
“We call on France’s Muslims to show their solidarity by participating in marches or rallies in memory of the victims. A delegation of the management of the UOIF went there in order to show their solidarity.
“Given the magnitude of this terrorist act that resulted in the murder of 12 innocents, the UOIF prays to God that our country can get through this terrible ordeal with unity and brotherhood.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Dalil Boubaker of Paris Mosque said “this barbaric act of extreme gravity is an attack against democracy and press freedom.”
He added: “Our first heartfelt thoughts are with the victims and their families, to whom we express our total solidarity in the terrible ordeal that affects them.
“In an international context of political tensions fueled by delusions of terrorist groups taking advantage unfairly of Islam, we call on all those committed to the values of the Republic and democracy to avoid provocations that only serve to throw fuel on the fire.
“Faced with this national drama we call on the Muslim community to exercise the utmost vigilance against possible manipulations from extremist groups of any kind.”
And prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, who is an influential figure in France, said the incident was an attack on Islam.
In a Facebook posting he said: “Contrary to what was apparently said by the killers in the bombing of Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters, it is not the Prophet who was avenged, it is our religion, our values and Islamic principles that have been betrayed and tainted .
“My condemnation is absolute and my anger is profound (healthy and a thousand times justified) against this horror!!! Allow me to express my deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims.”
In Britain, several organisations and commentators repeated this condemnation.
The Islamic Society of Britain said the attack is sickening and utterly wrong.
The Muslim Council of Britain said it condemns “the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause may be, nothing justifies the taking of life.”
She said: “As expected, the media has used the attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to once again beat Muslims with the ‘freedom of expression’ stick, arguing that they should accept the right of individuals to insult and offend our Deen because having the right to offend and insult the faith of others is the mark of a civilised society.
“How strange it is that the mark of a good parent is that they teach their children that offending or insulting others is immoral, bad, and bullying behaviour and to not do it, but according to the secular viewpoint – for adults to do it’s a sign of a progressive society! Utterly absurd!
“It is indicative of the irrationality of the liberal philosophy on life that ignores the blatant fact that people have deep sensitivities about many issues in life – from their religion to their race. Allowing individuals free-range to insult and offend those sensitivities is not the path to harmonious, cohesive and safe societies but one that breeds hatred and violence.”
In other reaction, Muslim activist Yvonne Ridley said she was appalled at the attack.
She said: “The killers who murdered journalists at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo apparently said the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was being avenged … RUBBISH!
“These idiots have betrayed our great faith, our great religion and have exposed Muslims across the world to anger and hate from more idiots who hate us already. I am appalled at the attack, the cowardice involved against those of my profession and my sympathies go out to all those innocents directly affected by this slaughter.”
Finally, CAGE’s Moazzam Begg simply said:
“My latest article on #CharlieHebdo killings: Condemn, grieve, avenge. Ideology, faith, ethnicity. Target, vilify, radicalise. More laws. Chain is greased, cycle begins. Article ends.”