By Christian Steiner
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine that makes fun of Christians, Jews, Muslims and themselves. Two extremists entered the building of the magazine company in Paris, France and open fired on those inside; it cost 12 employees their lives, with many more fatally wounded in what President Hollande is calling “a terrorist attack” by Muslim extremists.
The two gunmen could be heard shouting in French from a nearby building. “We avenged the prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo! Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great.”
Charb, one of the main cartoonists and editors of Charlie Hebdo, received regular death threats for his work but said, “I am not afraid of retaliation. I have no wife, no kids, no car, no credit. It perhaps sounds a bit pompous, but I prefer to die standing than living on my knees.”
The extremists attacked with the specific intent of killing Charb, taking out everyone who was in their way while they were at it.
“If you shoot at satirists, you only make our work more relevant,” commented the German satirical magazine The Titanic about the reasoning behind the attack. They even put a satirical message on their website, telling terrorists when to come
People from around the world are coming out in defense of Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of speech that allows for similar satire.
“Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect,” said Salman Rushdie, an Indian novelist.
The suspects are still at large as the French government is on high alert searching for the suspected gunmen.
“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” said President Obama whilst offering U.S. aid in the manhunt for the perpetrators.