Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) condemns Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) one of America’s largest Muslim organizations issued a press release yesterday denouncing the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
Full Text: The Muslim Public Affairs Council strongly condemns the deplorable attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which occurred today in Paris. Three gunmen, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, killed a total of 12 individuals, including employees of the magazine and police officers. MPAC offers its deepest condolences to the victims and their families of this horrible attack. As of the release of this statement, the gunmen are still at large.
The magazine, which in the past has satirized the Prophet Muhammad, has been the target of violence before, prompting law enforcement to offer protection to the editor. The gunmen are reported to have shouted during their rampage that the Prophet Muhammad had been avenged.
The Quran upholds the importance of the freedom to express one’s own thoughts, even when they may be seen as distasteful or disrespectful by others. The Quran documents the countless attempts to defame the Prophet as a “madman,” “magician” and as one who spreads discord.
“The tragic irony that these criminals displayed is that if they actually gave a cursory look over the Prophet Muhammad’s life, they’d see how he reacted to insults and degrading treatment,” said Haris Tarin, Director of the Washington, DC, Office. “The Prophet always responded with mercy and forgiveness. No matter what grievances individuals or communities might have, violence is never the answer.”
The attack highlights the need for communities and law enforcement to work together in addressing violent extremism. The causes that drive such violence must be firmly dealt with at its core: theologically, socially and politically.
In 2013, the Brookings Institution published a paper titled “Rethinking the ‘Red Line’: The Intersection of Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Social Change” co-authored by Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC’s Washington, DC, office and Asma Uddin, Legal Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The paper addresses freedom of expression and violent extremism.
“Rethinking the ‘Red Line'” – http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/11/free-speech-religious-freedom-social-change-tarin-uddin
COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS (CAIR)
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.
Full text of Statement by CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad:
“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.”
France’s Muslim leaders have similarly condemned the attack as “barbaric.” “This extremely grave barbaric action is also an attack against democracy and the freedom of the press,” said the French Muslim Council (CFCM) in a statement.
In 2006, CAIR rejected the sometimes violent response to Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper wrote at that time:
“Islamic traditions include a number of instances of the prophet having the opportunity to strike back at those who attacked him, but refraining from doing so.”