US Muslim Responses to Massacre in France

US Council of Muslim Organizations Condemn Paris Terror Attack Calling it "Brutal and Barbaric"

(WASHINGTON, D.C. , 01/07/2015) - The US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, strongly denounces the attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a severe and inexcusable infringement on freedom of speech.

The shooting attack, allegedly carried out by three gunmen while shouting "God is great" in Arabic, has left twelve people dead. Among the dead are eight journalists, the magazine editor and two policemen. The magazine has received threats of violence in the past due to its controversial caricatures and derogatory references to Islam. Although no one has come forward to claim responsibility, French police have launched a manhunt for the three perpetrators of the cowardly attack.

"We condemn this senseless act of violence. This is a brutal and unnecessary attack on not only the magazine, but the safety and security of all French citizens and their right to freedom of speech," said Oussama Jammal, USCMO Secretary General. "And, I hope, the barbaric actions of few which are absolutely unrelated to Islam do not cause the general Muslim population to be shed in the same light."

USCMO offers sincere prayers and condolences to the effected families and hopes for the swift arrest of the perpetrators and that they be brought to justice.

Founding members of USCMO: American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), The Mosque Cares (Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed).

Copyright 2015 US Council of Muslim Organizations. All rights reserved.

U.S. Muslims Condemn Paris Terror Attack, Defend Free Speech

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/7/15) - 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.

In a statement, 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.

"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."

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

In 2012 Anas Hlayhel wrote this article on the site Muslim Matters, "Mocking the Prophet, How Shall We React?" He mentions a verse and then writes, "In essence, the Qur'an is telling us that when it specifically comes to the issue of mocking the Prophet [SAW], which is exactly the issue that we are dealing with today. Don't take matters in your own hands, rather, God will take care of those who mock the Prophet."