Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), two hooded, black clad men carrying Kalashnikovs and pump-action shotgun, stormed into the Paris headquarters of the satirical magazine, “Charlie Hebdo” on Wednesday. They opened fire resulting in the death of 12 people including two police officers. Among the victims was the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier. The assailants claimed to have avenged the Prophet Muhammad through the attack according to Paris Prosecutor, Francois Molins.
As the details of the event unfold, the American Muslim communities have stepped forward in condemning this barbaric attack which has absolutely no basis in Islam. Earlier today the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the oldest Muslim organization in USA, issued a press release calling the attack barbaric. “Nothing justifies this barbaric and inhumane attack,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, National Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA. “Islam and Prophet Muhammad teach that life is sacrosanct and specifically forbids any worldly punishment for blasphemy. The culprits behind this atrocity have violated every Islamic tenet of compassion, justice, and peace.”
Qasim Rashid, spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community appeared on FOX News and commented on the attack. “Extremism, terrorism is a common enemy to all people regardless of race, color, and creed. As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, we condemn this attack. We are united internationally in mourning and praying while categorically condemning this horrible attack,” Rashid said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group also condemned the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo office. In a statement issued today, 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.” Awad further said, “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.”
The authorities believe they have identified three suspects- two of whom are brothers, Said, 34 and Cherif Kouachi, 32, both French nationals. A third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, 18, has surrendered to the police.