‘Je suis Charlie’: Paris on alert after attacks

By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~

The city of Paris fell victim to Islamist terrorist attacks, which left 17 people dead and many more injured.

The attacks began on Jan. 7 at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo when two masked gunman entered the headquarters and opened fire. The attack left 12 dead and 10 injured.

The attack on the magazine likely occurred because it has often printed satirical material about Islam, including illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad, which Islamic law forbids. Charlie Hebdo is known as an anti-religious, leftist magazine that frequently uses satire to comment on religious, political and cultural matters.

A 2012 issue included cartoon drawings of Muhammad posing nude. The spread put editor- in-chief, Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, on al-Qaeda’s most wanted list. Charb had been editor- in-chief since 2008 and was killed in the shooting.

On Jan. 8, a French policewoman was also shot and killed. The final attack came on Jan. 9 when terrorists raided a Jewish grocery store and kept many as hostages. Four of the hostages were killed in the store.

Three of the four suspects in the Paris attacks have been killed, including brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who attacked Charlie Hebdo, and Amedy Coulibaly, who is suspected of holding up the grocery store as well as killing the female police officer. The fourth identified suspect, Hayat Boumeddiene, remains at large. The attacks have been linked to the militant Islamist group, ISIS, as ISIS paraphernalia was found in the apartment rented by Coulibaly. In response to the attacks, France mobilized 10,000 troops as a security measure. Some 3.7 million people also took to the streets around the world in a march to stand up to the terrorists, 1.5 million of whom marched in Paris.

Demonstrators held up pencils, which have become a symbol of the movement, and signs bearing the rallying cry, “Je suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.” The march in Paris also included 40 world leaders, including leaders from Great Britain, Germany, Palestine and Israel. The United States, which is being criticized for not sending a more prominent official, was represented by the U.S. Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.

“In the streets of Paris, the world has seen once again what terrorists stand for,” President Barack Obama said. “They have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering.” “We stand for freedom, hope and the dignity of all human beings and that’s what the city of Paris represents to the world,” Obama said.

The cover of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo depicts Muhammad holding a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie.” The words “All is forgiven” are written at the top of the cover in French.