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Abdus Sattar Ghazali

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January 11, 2015

American Muslims fear backlash over Charlie Hebdo attack

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

American Muslim organizations have strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people but expressed fear of possible backlash and retribution against Muslims in America and Europe.

“All major American Muslim civil advocacy groups issued statements while condemning the brutal Charlie Hebdo attack reiterated their repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech even when it is offensive to their religious traditions. It can never be a justification to kill. These organizations include: the American Muslim Voice (AMV), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The attackers of  Charlie Hebdo, Said and Chérif Kouachi, were killed on Friday (January 9) after a long chase. The attackers escaped by car. As they ran back to their car, the attackers reportedly shouted, “We have avenged Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo."

About 50 world leaders joined President Hollande in solidarity march in Paris on Sunday (Jan. 11). The world leaders included: British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, EU President Donald Tusk, and Jordan's King Abdullah II, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

More than four million marchers flooded streets across France, according to French media, including 300,000 in Lyon, 100,000 in Bordeaux and an estimated 60,000 people in Marseille. Tens of thousands of people also rallied worldwide in solidarity with France, with marchers across Europe and the Middle East chanting "Je suis Charlie" and holding pens in the air. From Berlin to London and Jerusalem to Beirut, crowds waved French flags and sang the anthem La Marseillaise.

Who benefits from the Charlie Hebdo attack?

As the Paris terrorist attack was globally condemned many commentators tried to analyze the possible reasons for the attack.

German writer, Dr. Ludwig Watzal, argues that in promoting the Islamic enemy image, "Charlie Hebdo" was not the real model of freedom of speech. It was rather one of many mouthpieces of a predominant trend all across Europe that is racist, islamophobic, xenophobic and exclusively Western value-oriented. This arrogant attitude is now bearing terrible fruit. Nevertheless, the question remains: Who benefits from it?

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based writer pointed out that the Paris shooters were radicalized in Europe, sent to Syria, returned, have been previously arrested by Western security agencies for terrorism and long on the watch-list of French and other Western intelligence agencies. Yet "somehow" they still managed to execute a highly organized attack in the heart of Europe.  

Cartalucci believes that there is implications of yet another case of Western-radicalized terrorists, first exported to fight NATO's proxy war in Syria, then imported and well-known to Western intelligence agencies, being able to carry out a highly organized, well-executed attack, is that the attack itself was sanctioned and engineered by Western intelligence agencies themselves,. "This mirrors almost verbatim the type of operations NATO intelligence carried out during the Cold War with similar networks of radicalized militants used both as foreign mercenaries and domestic provocateurs. Toward the end of the Cold War, one of these militant groups was literally Al Qaeda - a proxy mercenary front armed, funded, and employed by the West to this very day."

Writing in Asia Times, Who profits from killing Charlie?, Pepe Escobar pointed out that  it is convenient to forget that "untold millions from Pakistan's tribal areas to street markets across Iraq continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadi mindset -- or "Kalashnikov culture," as it is known in Pakistan -- profiting the "West," directly or indirectly, for decades now."

Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnages over 10 times worse than Paris, he said adding: What French President Francois Hollande defined as "an act of exceptional barbarism" -- and it is -- does not apply when the "West," France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah; killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly all right. But don't do that in Paris. 

The attack threatens to stoke Islamophobia in America and Europe. To borrow Pepe Escobar, predictably, Islamo-fascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham used the occasion to fan the flames of a Crusades-like religious war. He urged President Obama to declare war on Islam? "We’re in a religious war," Graham bloviated. "These are not terrorists. They’re radical Islamists who are trying to replace our way of life with their way of life. Their way of life is motivated by religious teachings that require me and you to be killed, or enslaved, or converted."

Islamophobe Bill Maher took the opportunity to blame the entire Muslim world for the attacks. He also took the American liberals to task for not agreeing with him completely in his blanket condemnation of the entire Muslim world.

Paris terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954

Robert Fisk argues Paris terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954. The six-year Algerian war for independence, in which perhaps a million and a half Arab Muslims and many thousands of French men and women died, remains an unending and unresolved agony for both peoples. Just over half a century ago, it almost started a French civil war. Maybe all newspaper and television reports should carry a “history corner”, a little reminder that nothing – absolutely zilch – happens without a past. Massacres, bloodletting, fury, sorrow, police hunts (“widening” or “narrowing” as sub-editors wish) take the headlines. Always it’s the “who” and the “how” – but rarely the “why”. Take the crime against humanity in Paris this week – the words “atrocity” and “barbarity” somehow diminish the savagery of this act – and its immediate aftermath. [Paris terror can be traced back to Algeria in 1954 - The Independent UK]

Michael S. Rozeff writes: All those leaders who have been attacking Muslim countries for years on end and supplying arms. Hypocrites. All those leaders who yell “terrorism” when it suits their grander schemes of domination. Now when there is blowback in Paris, they yell “extremism” and use the occasion to continue and enlarge the war on terror. They use it to strengthen police state surveillance and to frighten the populations under their control. The West’s leaders have created terrorism, intentionally and unintentionally, knowingly and unknowingly, depending on the person and situation, and now they again are seeking to benefit from an attack on western ground. These same leaders stand by while Netanyahu engages in slaughtering Palestinians. They dismember Libya. They supply arms in Syria. They attack and destroy Iraq and Afghanistan. They now bemoan deaths for which they bear responsibility, for it is they who have invaded one Muslim country after another. [Truly Massive Display of Hypocrisy by Western Leaders - Information Clearing House]

David North writes: Throughout Europe and the United States, the claim is being made that the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo was an assault on the freedom of the press and the unalienable right of journalists in a democratic society to express themselves without loss of freedom or fear for their lives. The killing of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editors is being proclaimed an assault on the principles of free speech that are, supposedly, held so dear in Europe and the United States. The attack on Charlie Hebdo is, thus, presented as another outrage by Muslims who cannot tolerate Western “freedoms.” From this the conclusion must be drawn that the “war on terror”—i.e., the imperialist onslaught on the Middle East, Central Asia and North and Central Africa—is an unavoidable necessity.

In the midst of this orgy of democratic hypocrisy, no reference is made to the fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in the Middle East, is responsible for the deaths of at least 15 journalists. In the on-going narrative of “Freedom of Speech Under Attack,” there is no place for any mention of the 2003 air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded. Nor is anything being written or said about the July 2007 murder of two Reuters journalists working in Baghdad, staff photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh. Both men were deliberately targeted by US Apache gunships while on assignment in East Baghdad.....That is how the great capitalist “democracies” of North America and Europe have demonstrated their commitment to free speech and the safety of journalists!.... [“Free Speech” in the Aftermath of the Attack on Charlie Hebdo By David North - WSWS]

Commenting on the Charlie Hebdo attack, Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, said killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction. ..... Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him........Madison was right when he said, “Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power.” [Muslims are right to be angry - Catholic League Organization]

The Tale End:

On January 8, The International Business Times published a story that suggested that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, carried out the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo. The story's headline was "Charlie Hebdo Attack and Mossad Link: Is Israel Venting Its Fury for France's Recognition of Palestine State?."

The story was later withdrawn by IBT with the following comment: "A story reporting on conspiracy theorists who allege a link between Israeli intelligence and the Paris shootings should never have been published and we have therefore removed it from our site. The story was beneath our standards and we apologize for this basic lapse in judgment."

The IBT story written by Gopi Chandra Kharel, retrieved from, reads as under:

"There is no clarity on which organisation is behind the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday and therefore, conspiracy theories are gaining traction in internet forums.

"Fingers are being pointed toward intelligence agencies and Mossad of Israel is a prime contender.

It is believed that Israel has a grouse against France, especially because French MPs voted in favour of recognising the Palestinian state and also France voted against Israel at the UN recently, conspiracy bloggers such as 'Aangirfan' note.

"In Early December 2014, when France's lower house of parliament voted 339 votes to 151 urging the government to recognise the Palestinian state, Israel was patently unhappy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the vote a "grave mistake".

"Israel had warned France of grave consequences even before the country voted in favour of Palestine. Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, France 24 reported Netanyahu as saying that time: "Do they have nothing better to do at a time of beheadings across the Middle East, including that of a French citizen? Recognition of a Palestinian state by France would be a grave mistake. "The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, the only state that we have, and the Palestinians demanding a state do not want to recognise the right to have a state for the Jewish people."

"Israel, last week, also expressed its "deep disappointment" with France for voting for a Palestinian resolution at the UN Security Council and calling for a full IDF withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by the end of 2017, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"France was one of eight countries supporting Palestine in the Security Council – although it fell one-vote short of the nine necessary to pass.

"Although there is no way to verify the claims that Mossad was involved, the backdrop in which the attack took place seems to indicate that it might be involved, many conspiracy theorists have noted. Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection and has undertaken many covert operations for Israel in Europe that aim to further their Jewish cause."


Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America