According to the website, time.com, at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 7, two gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. The two gunman opened fire and fled the scene in stolen vehicles.
Twelve people were killed, and another 11 were seriously injured, according to time.com.
Two of the suspects, Saïd Kouachi, 34, and his brother, Chérif, 32, men who claim to practice the Islamic religion, are said to have initiated the attack in order to avenge the Prophet Muhammad after the paper published multiple satirical cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet throughout the years, according to USA Today.
“Terrorism has no religion and is an affront to Islam; therefore, we must confront and expose the evil ideology of these terrorists,” said Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a Muslim group in the United Kingdom, after the attack.
Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University, said that by committing this act of terrorism, the two gunmen were betraying Islamic principles, religion and morals.
“The barbarous attack of extreme gravity is also an attack against democracy and freedom of the press,” according to the French Muslim Council.
The freedom of press and expression is a fundamental right not only recognized in the United States Bill of Rights, according to USA Today.
It is also in the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, the English Bill of Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights.
We cannot condone what happened at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, nor should agree with it, but we should exercise our freedoms speech and expression with caution.
It seems that more and more people are offended by what we may believe to be small things every day, and we need to be sensitive to that.
We should not censor all of our thoughts in order to avoid offending anyone ever because that would be impossible, but we should think before we write.
We live in a society of instant gratification where we can post anything on a social media site, and if it does not get our desired amount of “likes” or comments, we have not reached a sort of “social success” and we can take it down. But do we realize that while we may think something is funny, it could be offensive to others?
We should not, even slightly, agree with the terrorist attack in Paris. Nor should our freedom of speech be revoked or monitored, but we should think more about what we post online for the world to see.
World leaders joined together in support of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.
“France today received a shock,” said President François Hollande. “A newspaper means free speech for journalists.”
President Barack Obama has offered to help in tracking down the suspects.
“For us to see the kind of cowardly, evil attacks that took place today reinforces once again why it’s so important for us to stand in solidarity with them just as they stand in solidarity with us,” said President Obama.
According to USA Today, citizens around the world have also started to show their sport of those who were killed in the shooting.
Thousands have begun to protest with the phrase, “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I Am Charlie,” in the streets of France and online.
The slogan became a trending hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, along with an image of a machine gun with the words, “This is not religion,” as well as other hashtags related to the shooting.
According to Shafiq in a USA Today article, “As Muslims, we have been offended by these cartoons and have spoken out against them through the political process and the media, but this gives no one the right to kill people ever, and we have no reservation in saying #notinourname.”
According to an article in USA Today on the night of the massacre, Charlie Hebdo has been known to criticize and “poke fun” at multiple religious beliefs and ways of living, not just Islamic beliefs.
Charlie Hebdo editor in chief Gerard Biard said he does not understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons.
“A newspaper is not a weapon of war,” Biard said.
Dissenting Opinion: Don’t blame the victims for the attack
The terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by the three extremists is reprehensible and something that the world is right to be set by.
In the coming days, weeks and months, debates will occur about why this happened.
The danger in this debate is even considering that the magazine itself is at fault for this attack. When a young woman is raped, some in society ask, “But what was she wearing?”
American culture today is rightly turning against this form of discourse, calling it victim blaming.
On Jan. 7, two gunmen massacred 12 people at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Some likewise ask, “But what did they print?”
Regardless of the best intentions of some, a rape is the wrong time to talk about modesty, and this massacre is the wrong time to talk about the publication’s sensitivity or lack thereof.
Self-censorship is a slippery slope at the best of times; when we’re scared about things like the Charlie Hebdo shooting happening here in America, it can be easy to over-simplify the issue and unintentionally make the correlation that being less offensive would have stopped this from happening. This type of thinking can help us feel safe, but it is dangerous.
Being sensitive to the beliefs and opinions of others is important. By keeping this in mind while writing, individuals are less likely to alienate readers who would otherwise agree with what we have to say. However, talking about it in connection with the Charlie Hebdo killings risks turning the conversation into a justification for the tragedy, rather than outrage at a terrorist attack.
In general, journalists walk a thin line between being offensive and challenging people to see other viewpoints. When the world doesn’t know what to think, journalists are oftentimes the ones who give voice to public feeling or draw attention to inconsistencies. They talk about social injustices, reveal secrets, publish the hard truth and work as vanguards for people with no voice.
At the same time, words hurt. That’s always going to be the reality of things.
But the aftermath of a terrorist attack that has the world mourning the loss of lives is not the time to decry the victim, even inadvertently.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
There will always be people who publish things that offend and attack what we or others believe — but part of holding freedom is holding it for people we disagree with.
Standing for other people’s freedom of speech — whether we agree with their opinions or not — is vital to the survival of this and every other basic right.
Even the accidental implication that the victims are to blame for the attacks on their free speech is dangerous and should be avoided.
Instead, we should place blame where it belongs: in the hands of those who pulled the trigger.