Much like 9/11, the Charlie Hebdo massacre is a wake-up call to understand that Islamic terror is not bound geographically to the Middle East. It isn’t just about a bunch of crazy trigger-happy individuals sating their blood lust somewhere in a desert – it’s about the power that a few righteous Muslims with guns have on the Western world.
The fact that their target was a satirical magazine which lampooned Mohamed (just as it lampooned any figure of religious, political or celebrity authority) is a clear message to the West that much like in the countries they originated from, criticism of Islam is unacceptable. They didn’t just kill 12 French nationals, they brought the rigid ideals of Islamic rule to Paris and the world.
The Terrorist are the Tip of the Iceberg
But make no mistake, the terrorists firing the guns were supported by a group of people who supplied them with guns who were in turn supported in their views by a much larger group who took satires against the Prophet to heart.
They were legitimized by previous attacks by Muslims on any individual, group or country in the name of Islam from the fatwa against Salman Rushdie to 9/11. The terrorists and their supporters may be legally viewed as European nationals living in Europe but deep down, they would like Paris to be a bit (or a lot) more like Tehran.
Islamic Reaction to the Terrorism
Overall, most Islamic leaders condemned the massacre as well they should. Terrorism is a double-edged sword on the loose that can easily turn on its supporters. Islamic terrorism feeds the flames of Islamophobia and brings the world closer to a monumental clash between Western ideals and Islamic ideals.
In the process, the voice of moderate Muslims who want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow human beings who don’t share their religion is extinguished. These moderates understand that the sword of Islamic terror will one day turn on them and that terrorism in the name of Islam is a threat to Muslims all over the world.
The overwhelming identification of Muslims with the victims (Je Suis Charlie) is a beacon of light in the darkness of Islamic extremism and brings hope that we might all be able to get along in the future.
Tehran Condemns Terrorism, BUT…
Since he communicated his WAVE (World Against Violence and Extremism) initiative in his speech at the UN assembly in 2013, president Rouhani has led an Iranian stand against terrorism. He was joined by other Iranian leaders who spoke out against terrorism repeatedly and with increasing volume as ISIS’s rampage brutally tore through Iraq.
Yes, they condemn terrorism BUT they blame others (the “West”) and dismiss/deny/”forget” their own responsibility for the rise of terror. In rhetoric, the word “BUT” is acknowledged as “the great eraser” which negates whatever was written or said before it.
In this case, Iranian leaders condemnation of terror is severely weakened by their accusations and their denials. In much the same manner, Iranian leaders have condemned the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, BUT…
- Khamenei’s right hand man Velayati “condemns the terrorist attack in Paris”, BUT believes that “it should be a warning for those Western and regional countries that have supported terrorists directly or indirectly” – no mention of Iran’s support of Hezbollah, Hamas, Assad etc…
- Iranian spokeswoman Afham called “any terrorist action against innocent people against innocent people as being against Islam’s teaching”, BUT equally “condemned as unacceptable any form of misuse of freedom of speech, intellectual radicalism, and character assassination against personalities that are revered by religions and nations – of course, no mention of verbal attacks by Tehran against the US (“The Great Satan”) and Israel (“Cancer”, “Rabid Dog”…).
- Top Iranian cleric Khatami “strongly condemn(s) the terrorist attack in France”, BUT he believes that “US dollars, UK pounds and the European Union (EU)’s euros are to blame for these killings” – once again, condemnation followed by blame.
- Iranian parliament speaker Larijani didn’t care to condemn the Charlie Hebdo massacre BUT knew who to blame: “They (“foreign sponsors of terrorism) created numerous security problems by their presence in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Syria). Look what has happened now; everything is messed up in France and no one has security” – he forgets to mention the repercussions of Iran’s presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria (as well as Lebanon and Yemen).
- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif: passed on condemning the massacre but knew who to blame – “We believe that sanctities (no caricatures of Mohammad) need to be respected and unless we learn to respect one another it will be very difficult in a world of different views and different cultures and civilisations” – what about other sanctities such human rights, freedom of speech, democracy? Nothing.
Islam vs. Democracy
Iranian leaders in Islamic regimes may pay lip service to democracy by holding elections but it is clearly understood by all the regime members that Islam precedes democracy and all its freedoms. Human rights chief Larijani denounces the UN’s attempt of forcing on Iran a universal definition of human rights as “a new kind of terrorism” believing that human rights in Iran should be subject to Islamic laws and right now, those definitions are definitely against freedom of speech and any criticism of Islam or the regime.
So while local and international journalists’ voices are being shut by censors and jailors in Iran, Tehran banned Iranian journalists from expressing their solidarity with their fellow journalists in France.
At democracy’s foundation is the right for minorities to express themselves and to obtain equal rights as the majority. But democracy is in danger of imploding once minorities are organized to overthrow the system from within by legally changing the identity of a country. Europe is stuck between a rock and a hard place: If European countries accept Islamization in any of its forms – negating freedom of speech, sha’ariah laws etc… – they will lose what is left of their national identities. And if they don’t, they will have to resort to fascism in order to prevent the Islamic minority from achieving its rights.
Or perhaps, by some miracle, Islamic extremism will fizzle out and a French Muslim will prioritize himself as a French citizen first and a Muslim believer second…not the other way around.