“We are all Charlie,” says a banner headline on the web site of Liberation. The birthplace for modern democracy is no longer safe for a free press.
Today’s murders at the satirical newspaper, “Charlie Hebdo,” was once against allegedly the target of a terrorist attack by Muslims. At least 12 were killed, journalists and police protecting them. Others were criticially wounded.
Editor Stéphane Charbonnier was killed.
Also among the dead were four cartoonists. And it was not the first time Muslim terrorists have attacked artists in Europe for work they consider blasphemy. Charlie Hebdo itself had been firebombed previously.
Said and Chérif Kouachi, brothers ages, 34 and 32, were being sought. A third man, 18-years-old turned himself in, French police reported.
Cartoons have been featured in French publications all the way to the French Revolution. The magazine also made fun of Christians.
France had recently deployed soldiers on its streets because of threats from Muslim terrorists.
Of course there were knee-jerk reactions, including that not all Muslims are terrorists. Rightists will continue to push against allowing Muslims sanctuary or the right of citizenship.
This is not a good time to insist on wearing a burka. There is talk of a religious war. Jihadists have been involved in small attacks in recent weeks in France.
Is there a place in the world for people with no sense of humor?
As was suggested by some Muslim leaders, is starting a conversation on the need to abandon medieval concepts on blasphemy an answer?
Will countries that insist on freedom of the press have to begin checking the bags of anyone as they enter a store? Will there need to be roadblocks? Will more citizens arm themselves?
Charlie Hebdo frequently made fun of Mohammed, including in a recent Twitter post. “We have avenged the prophet Mohammed,” the killers were heard saying, witnesses told the BBC.
Questions being asked included were the terrorists French-born, perhaps trained in Syria, or Islamic jihadists who infiltrated the country. In some countries, Muslim asylum-seekers have been arrested for plotting terrorism after being granted sanctuary.
Le Monde reported least 3,000 police were searching for the terrorists, believed to have involved two or three.
French President Francois Hollande said, “France today received a shock. A newspaper means free speech for journalists.”