Here’s What Motivated The Charlie Hebdo Murderers

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Why did the three terrorists attack Charlie Hebdo’s office on January 7 and kill 12 people? While the general notion is that they were punishing the satirical magazine for poking fun at Islam and Shariah law via cartoons hence motivated by religion, people continue to debate why it happened.

People also searched for answers when mass shooter Anders Breivik murdered 77 young social democrats in Norway in 2011. He believed that the ‘Cultural Marxists’ were involved in ‘Islamisation of Europe’ so he shot them. He was not cast as a victim of circumstance (an alienated man driven to extremes by a deepest sense of injustice), and neither was Norway blamed for its ‘ideology’ (how immigration and Cultural Marxism might indeed have gone too far). Instead, Breivik was depicted as nobody who wanted to be somebody by slaughtering innocent people for a cause he discovered on the Internet. He would have been treated differently had he committed this atrocity in the name of Islam; his 1,515-page manifesto that described his motivation, would not have been dismissed as irrational.

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This has been a pre-dominant response to Islamist violence ever since Salman Rushdie was threatened with murder in 1989 for writing The Satanic Verses. Liberal experts accused him of ‘insulting Islam’. People who should have defended Rushdie’s right to free speech were instead busy debating the frenzied reaction to a work of fiction. The intimidating influence of religious violence and self-claimed Islamic leaders was evident even when Yusuf Islam hoped that Rushdie be burned in actuality in front of a televised panel that included a police superintendent; except for writer Fay Weldon, no one challenged him.

The New Yorker’s George Packer described the Charlie Hebdo attackers as “soldiers in a war against freedom of thought and speech, against tolerance, pluralism, and the right to offend—against everything decent in a democratic society”. Writers like Packer disconnect the average Muslim from acts of terrorist violence by undeniably classifying the perpetrators as mere glory seekers. It is those who speak sympathetically of Muslim Anger, on the other hand, who are adopting the working narrative of Islamism, and binding all Muslims to the violence committed in its name.

In May 2013, Michael Olumide Akinbiyi Mujahid Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, 22, both British citizens, in broad daylight on the streets of London brutally attacked, savagely slaughtered and beheaded a British soldier identified as Lee Rigby, 25, who had returned from Afghanistan. While the two claimed they were motivated by the suffering of Afghan and Iraq civilians, yet such act of terrorism was never committed by Afghan and Iraqi refugees living in the UK. British and European citizens join the Islamic State in hordes influenced by the sufferings of Iraqi and Syrian civilians. But their desire for justice fades as they go about occupying, slaughtering, enslaving, and raping their way across Iraq and Syria.

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The selective narrative of Islamism — and the Muslim Anger it stokes — has a sequence. First, go to the head of the line if your suffering can be attributed to American, European, or Israeli military or political policy. After that, comes a Muslim suffering at the hands of other non-Muslim governments. Next up is, anyone harmed by Muslim authorities seen to be serving the interests of non-Muslims.

As Packer points out, “A religion is not just a set of texts but the living beliefs and practices of its adherents”. Islamism, which is a form of totalitarianism—politics as religion, religion as politics— in which violence serves a will to absolute power in the name of God, is hijacking Muslims, because it is preached by some few, but powerful Islamic leaders. It marginalizes and threatens those who renounce it. It labels anyone who speaks of reform as blasphemous traitors. It distorts young minds by raising youth with a simplistic worldview of eternal conflict between a Muslim ‘us’ and a non-Muslim ‘them’ in which the aim is to become a warrior. This Islamic teaching of this few powerful misleading pseudo-Islamic leaders who are often just craving for more power,  values Muslims only as instruments for their agenda.

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Can the Muslims recover from this perversed and distorted ideology and propaganda of this few pseudo-Muslim leaders who seek to label and control them? Those who validate Muslim Anger after Islamist mayhem are doing Radicalism’s work— they are appointing its proponents as the voice of world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.

Charlie Hebdo staff was murdered by nobodies seeking glory in the endless global conflict laid out for them by Islamism, marketed by slick internet campaigns. Terrorists’ imaginary sense of offense at ‘insulting’ cartoons was pretexts for their actions, not reasons.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. if freedom of speech lies in ridiculing ones ideas or the ones they hold very esteemed or dear, than I think denial of the holocaust should also be accepted as a freedom of speech. while many countries who hold the horn of free speech, they have laws against antisemitism and denial of holocaust. why such dual standards. Charlie Hebdo fired one of its cartoonist for antisemitic remark. many news anchors who condemn Israels actions have to later publicly condemn what they said or get fired.

    • Well, I agree, freedom of speech should be upholded in all places. However, antisemitism is a little bit like racism… I’ m not sure but I’m under the impression that the Jewish people were targeted not because of their religion. Satire against religion is indeed a way to lessen religion’s power and its symbols. To doubt religious beliefs is to think closer to the truth. To make jokes about jewish people… well I don’t see a way it helps actually (of course you might point out one such way.) I believe there shouldn’t be laws against that but I also believe we shouldn’t think of the two things as the one and the same.

  2. If the islamic prophet or Islam is insulted it is called freedom of speech.. if Judaism or Jewish leaders are insulted then it is something that cannot be tolerated. This is the situation of the biased western media. Peace and Justice will prevail on Earth with the emergence of Imam Mehdi.. Everything is happening according to Islamic prophecies. According to which Muslims will not have any values at the End Times. Unjustness will be widespread. Then Imam Mehdi will emerge and uphold peace. Unite Christians and Muslims and true believers of Jews. We can see that Muslims burning in Central Africa, in Myanmar, in India and in middle east. Media is not covering anything. Why?? because Muslims do not have values today.

    • If i were to open a new company tomorrow and hire, say 10 people, and promise them a lot of profit if they invest their time into my product, and work without pay, and to believe in their product, and then when this product goes into the market and turns out to be second rate, then what would i do to keep my employees? I would lie to them and say “our product will face harsh criticism and will have no value, but you should believe in it, because it will miraculously be in demand one day in the near future” ….. this is the story behind every religion. Its just a bunch of smart people predicting human reactions in the far future and countering it beforehand. Too bad we humans are too predictable. This is the truth i know.

  3. The real answer is Palestine, as long as the west keeps destroying houses and murdering people there, nothing will change. The hate for the west is a reasonable reaction to us meddling in the middle east.

  4. I wonder just how many Westerners have never had Muslim friends or even a communication with them. I’d say 99% or more of non-Muslim people in the North America are in this category. That is why they do not realize they talk pure gibberish BS about Muslims. BS because if you want to find out how to fix a broken down car you lift the hood and go inside with proper tools. So why the fuk does the West demonize Muslims instead of trying to know them one on one. I’m not Muslim but I have many as friends for many years. I have many jokes with them and interesting intellectual discussions…… the Muslim women I know are are sharp and witty and very highly educated. They regard jihadists as NOT religious but murderers; the same way many sane Americans regard church-going war criminal neocons. Who in their right mind would regard right-wing lunatic Christians as ‘real’ Christians – yet in the West, lunatic Jihadists are branded as religious. The West needs to get to know real Muslims instead of -as always- pretend they know everything about the world while demonizing it. I like this article’s efforts at balance, but it can be improved upon by clerly pointing out that real Jews, Real Christians, Real Muslims actually can get along together – as in Jerusalem centuries ago before the Crusaders arrived and massacred many of them…… It is the lunatic extremist elements of all religions who are not in for religion, but for self satisfying ego stroking BS reasons. Call them what they are- insane hijackers of religions. And ignore the ‘why do they hate us’ BS of the media; they are too lazy assed and conniving to sitdown and talk with middle class Muslims….. I mean, if they destroy the image of Muslims being raving lunatics, which sheep will tune in without getting a news-hysteria doping up.

  5. When “peaceful” Muslims march in as many thousands as PEGIDA, to show they do NOT support what’s being done in the name of their religion, then we can begin to believe indeed that these acts are extremists seeking random self-glorification. For as long as the silent majority remains silent, one can only conclude that indeed, though the silent ones may not take such actions themselves, they do not regret or condemn such actions taken by others. Recently Egypt’s President, al-Sisi, called on imams and clerics to start redirecting their sermons and teachings to create real impact on behavior and show Islam as peaceful. So far, nothing’s happened in that vein. Which speaks for itself. One has only to look, additionally, at the Green party in the UK, and its platforms, and its suddenly rising membership, to see where this is all heading. We are back at early Nazism’s thrust, on a global scale this time, and it would seem that the massive silent majority does indeed want a global caliphate, else they’d speak up and show up to prove otherwise.

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