By Melody Park
12 people were massacred in a terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris on the morning of January 7. An additional five lives were taken in a nearby kosher supermarket and city street.
Among those killed were three of France’s most illustrious cartoonists, the publication’s editor and two French police officers. Reportedly, 22 additional people have been injured in the attacks.
The three terrorists were European Muslim extremists. The two terrorists who attacked the magazine’s headquarters were allegedly sent by the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The third killer was allegedly sent by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
Charlie Hebdo has, for several years, published a myriad of offensive cartoons and editorials criticizing devout Muslims, Jews, and Catholics. Especially controversial are the magazine’s depictions of the prophet Muhammad, whose image in cartoon-form is highly offensive to Islam. The primary motive of the attack likely was anger with Charlie Hebdo cartoonists’ portrayals of Muhammad, which included nude depictions of Muhammad, taboo in the Islam religion.
On the evening of the attack, thousands of Parisians gathered in the Place de la Republiqué, Lyon, Toulouse and other French cities, which led to January 8 becoming an official day of mourning.
On January 11, four days after the attacks, over 3.7 million people, including world leaders from 40 different countries, gathered in a “unity rally” to honor the 17 lives lost and to demonstrate France’s, and the world’s, unity after such a tragedy.
Also, pro-Islamic protests have erupted in Nigeria and Russia’s Chechnya region raging against the publication.
The French phrase “Je suis Charlie,” translated, “I am Charlie,” has become the international slogan in support of the rallies, in support of free speech, and in solidarity with those who were killed in the terrorist attacks.