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Editor Paul Bugeja writes in support of media colleagues at Charlie Hebdo in France who have perished at the hands of desperate and despicable extremist criminals.
Terrorism is deeply entrenched in the zeitgeist, even more so today after the attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo at their Paris office, with atleast 12 dead and 11 injured…and the gunmen roaming somewhere in the streets of Paris.
And in Yemen a car bomb has killed 30 outside a military training facility, also linked to terrorism, possibly Al Qaeda.
Although clearly both attacks are horrific, the former, and the extent to which it is being reported, has prompted a massive response.
Because attacking Charlie Hebdo is also an attack at the heart of free speech and those who try to deliver it.
Yes, the staff of Charlie Hebdo did make satirical jibes about Islam – but the magazine has a long history of applying such satire to a range of issues from politics to culture, although it is renowned particularly for its left-wing, anti-religious stance.
The reaction of Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris’ Seine-Saint-Denis northern suburb, was strong and important in terms of how the majority of Muslims no doubt feel about such an horrific attack and any other attacks carried out in the name of their religion.
“I am extremely angry. These are criminals, barbarians. They have sold their soul to hell. This is not freedom. This is not Islam and I hope the French will come out united at the end of this,” Chalghoum said.
Our thoughts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of those who have perished in this deplorable attack on Charlie Hebdo.
The Big Smoke condemns the actions of those who would conduct such an atrocious and desperate life-ending act, as we would any such attack anywhere in the world on any innocent persons by any person, organisation, extreme religious group or otherwise.