The American Muslim community condemned the heinous attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the death of twelve journalists and two police officers. Major American Muslim organizations issued press releases condemning this attack and reiterated their support for freedom of speech. The first casualty in these attacks was a French Muslim police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who was killed in the shooting as he defended the journalists from terrorists.
I would like to share some of the press releases by American Muslim organizations.
Minnesota based Islamic Resource Group (IRG) issued the following statement:
IRG and its affiliates nationwide join fellow Americans in extending their deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today’s horrific attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris today which took the lives of twelve people. No belief, cause, or grievance justifies such senseless violence. We pray that the perpetrators be found and quickly brought to justice. As Muslims, people of other faiths, and leaders across the world condemn this attack, we affirm the following values and principles:
- We affirm and uphold the sanctity of all human life, the taking of which is among the gravest of all sins.
- We affirm the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and speech.
- We affirm the right to security in one’s livelihood, profession, and residence.
- We believe that God created us with all the diversity of race, religion, language, and belief to get to know one another, not to despise or hate one another.
- We believe that Islam is above all a religion of peace and mercy, and that Muslims are obligated to model those traits in their lives and characters and to work for the good of our homeland and society, wherever that might be.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) issued the following press release:
(Plainfield, IN 1/7/15) Today the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) condemned the shooting attack on the Paris office of the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Twelve people were killed today in the attack by three hooded individuals armed with AK-47 rifles. The perpetrators escaped by car and remain at large. As they ran back to their car, the attackers reportedly shouted, "We have avenged Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo."
According to the media reports, the magazine has been threatened and attacked in the past because of its derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad.
In a statement ISNA President Azhar Azeez:
"We condemn this barbaric attack which was seemingly done to undermine freedom of speech. Speech, even when it is offensive to our religious traditions and sensibilities, can never be a justification to kill.
"Our condolences and prayers go out to the victims and their families for this senseless act of violence. We hope that law enforcement apprehends the perpetrators and bring them to justice for their crimes."
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued the following press release:
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/7/15) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned a shooting attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and repeated its defense of freedom of speech.
Twelve people were killed today in the attack by individuals reportedly shouting "God is great" in Arabic. While no one has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, the magazine has been threatened and attacked in the past because of its derogatory references to Islam and its Prophet Muhammad. The perpetrators remain at large.
In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We strongly condemn this brutal and cowardly attack and reiterate our repudiation of any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures. The proper response to such attacks on the freedoms we hold dear is not to vilify any faith, but instead to marginalize extremists of all backgrounds who seek to stifle freedom and to create or widen societal divisions.
"We offer sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed or injured in this attack. We also call for the swift apprehension of the perpetrators, who should be punished to the full extent of the law."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.