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Reaction to the Paris attacks

Reaction to the Paris attacksOn 7th of January 2015 two Islamist terrorist gunmen attacked the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 and wounding 11 persons. This started a manhunt lasting two days during which time a policewoman was killed in Paris. The situation escalated on 9th of January with hostages being taken on two locations, resulting in four more deaths at a kosher supermarket. The two men suspected of carrying out the Charlie Hebdo attacks as well as the third hostage-taker were killed in the course of the police operation.

The overwhelming reaction in French and international media has been one of strong solidarity with the victims, support for freedom of expression and resistance to the terrorist threats.

This key source highlights some of the most pressing issues by presenting a non-exhaustive selection of articles published in the aftermath of the attack. The commentators’ points of view are presented thematically, addressing topics of major importance such as the fight against terrorism, freedom of expression, antisemitism, islamophobia, jihadist militants, security and police cooperation.

Political and legislative response on fighting terrorism

The attacks have indicated the possible shortcomings of the current measures for fighting terrorism and prompted the question of whether those measures should be reinforced by new antiterrorist laws. Recommendations for future legislation include initiatives such as the European Passenger Name Record (PNR) framework proposed in the joint statement of the European ministers of interior and the redrafted EU directive on data retention as advocated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

We won’t let the voice of freedom be muzzled / David Cameron, Barack Obama, in The Times, 15.1.2015

Historical choices after the massacres in Paris / Yves Pascouau, 14.1.2015

Claude Moraes interview on Bloomberg TV, 12.1.2015

Welche Sicherheitsgesetze sich ändern / Heribert Prantl, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12.1.2015

Why al Qaeda in Yemen Attacked Paris / Angel Rabasa, USA Today, 12.1.2015

La guerra del terror / Esperanza Aguirre, El Mundo, 12.1.2015

L’UE face au terrorisme : que peut-elle faire? / Gilles de Kerchove 11.1.2015 (TV interview)

Paris Attacks May Distort Western Policy Focus / Jane Kinninmont, Chatham House, 9.1.2015

Paris Attacks: An Opportunity for the Politics of Tolerance / Quentin Peel, Chatham House, 9.1.2015

Le moment churchillien de la Ve République / Bernard-Henri Lévy, Le Monde, 8.1.2015

Terror in Paris, Answers from RAND Experts / RAND corporation, 7.1.2015

Freedom of expression

The attacks have instigated a public debate on freedom of expression and ethics in journalism. It has brought to the fore the question of balancing the intention to challenge authority with the need to respect other cultures and beliefs. While there is an overall consensus on the fundamental right of free expression, some have claimed that this right is applied in a selective way, allowing the marginalisation of certain groups and re-affirming the dominant position. Nonetheless, as the overwhelming solidarity and the demonstrations in the aftermath of the tragic events show, the public mood is largely one of condemnation of any such violent and disproportionate reactions to free expression.

Blasphemy and racism are not moral equivalents / David Bernstein, The Washington Post, 19.1.2015

Freiheit muss nerven / Dirk Kurbjuweit, Der Spiegel, 17.1.2015

The weasels of ‘free speech’ need strangling / David Aaronovitch, The Times, 15.1.2015

De Jérusalem à Moscou, comment la presse accueille le nouveau Charlie / 8 auteurs, Le Figaro, 14.1.2015

Charlie Hebdo and the blasphemy of censorship / Vicken Cheterian, Open Democracy 14.1.2015

Why Paris will happen again if we rely on empathy and outrage / Ted Cantle, Open Democracy ,14.1.2015

Will Journalism Suffer After the Paris Attack? / Karin Karlekar & Jonathan Masters, Council on Foreign Relations, 12.1.2015

Islamists are assailing freedom of speech; but vilifying all Islam is the wrong way to counter bloody medievalism / The Economist lead article, 10.1.2015

Yo no soy Charlie Hebdo / David Brooks, El País, 9.1.2015

“Je suis Charlie Hebdo”/ Mario Vargas Llosa, El País, 9.1.2015

Attack on Charlie Hebdo: An Attack on What? / Noelle Quenivet, in Euro Rights Blog, 8.1.2015

We are not all Charlie Hebdo, but we are all afraid / Adam Wagner, 8.1.2015, UK Human Rights Blog

Free speech must not be silenced in the wake of Charlie Hebdo attack / Roy Greenslade, 7.1.2015, in The Guardian

No, we are NOT all Charlie (and that’s a problem) / Cas Mudde, 7.1.2015, Open Democracy

Cultural questions and tensions

The questions of tolerance and acceptance have resurfaced with reference to islamophobia in Western societies. Several commentators have pointed out failures in the integration process that lead to mistrust, fear or even hatred of the other. Commentators suggest proceeding gradually, creating opportunities for direct interaction in order to overcome prejudice and break down barriers standing in the way of a peaceful and mutually respectful co-existence in a modern society.

Cultural clashes

Fremde Federn: Tomás Halík; Warum ich nicht Charlie bin / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.1.2015

Paris attacks: in this debate fear is the factor that dare not speak its name / Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, 16.1.2015

El Papa sostiene que “la libertad de expresión tiene límites”/ Pablo Ortaz, El País, 15.1.2015

Yihadismo y claridad / Antonio Elorza, El País, 11.1.2015

The two crises / William Kristol, The Foreign Policy Initiative, 9.1.2015

The French 9/11 / Dominique Moisi, Project Syndicate, 9.1.201

Charlie Hebdo and the Poison for Europe’s Soul / Carnegie Europe, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 8.1.2015

On Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, terrorism, and the value of lives / Yazan Al-Saasi, Open Democracy, 8.1.2015

Paris Killings Require More Than Mere Condemnation / H.A. Hellyer, Brookings, 8.1.2015

The ideology motivating Charlie Hebdo attackers / Democracy Digest, 8.1.2015

Es política, no religión / José Ignacio Torreblanca, El País, 8.1.2015

Antisemitism and Islamophobia

Face à l’antisémitisme, le choix du départ doit rester personnel / Le Monde, 21.1.2015

Ein tödliches Gemisch; Islamische Fanatiker mit militärischer Erfahrung fördern den Antisemitismus / Pierre Heumann, Basler Zeitung, 20.1.2015

‘I’ve heard people speak in a way I haven’t before. They can’t see a future for UK Jews’: Preparing for the worst: UK Jews expect more attacks / Robert Booth, The Guardian, 20.1.2015

Charlie Hebdo cartoon reveals double standard involving racial caricatures of Arabs and Jews / Steven Litt, Plain Dealer, 18.1.2015

“C’est à chaque citoyen de protéger la démocratie” Cécile Chambraud / Le Monde, 17.1.2015

Ahmad Mansour über den Islam und den Terror / Der Spiegel, 17.1.2015

The threat to France’s Jews / Natasha Lehrer, The Guardian, 15.1.2015

Charlie Hebdo and western denial / Duncan Thomas, Open Democracy 15.1.2015

« Charlie » agite de nouveau le monde musulman / Marie Jégo, Amir Akef, Charlotte Bozonnet, Benjamin Barthe, Le Monde, 15.1.2015

Hollande : «L’islam est compatible avec la démocratie»/ Lilian Alemagna, Libération, 15.1.2015

Charlie Hebdo: “Je suis white people” / Margaret Kimberley, Eurasia Review, 15.1.201

Paris attacks will be ‘told-you-so’ moment for Europe’s far right / Joerg Forbrig, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, 14.1.2015

Mahomet, une image très sensible / Bernadette Sauvaget, 13.1.2015, La Liberation

Do Jews Have a Future in France? / James Kirchick, The Foreign Policy Initiative, 10.1.2015

Radical Islamism: Al Qaeda and foreign fighters

The attacks have brought to light the acute threat resulting from jihadist militants. Due, amongst other factors, to the lack of real integration and the conflict between differing ideologies, certain European migrant communities appear to be a fertile ground for radical islamists to disseminate their extreme views and train fighters who return to Europe with not only the skills and intentions but also the means required for organising large-scale attacks.

Qaeda looks to regain ground with Charlie Hebdo attack / Rene Slama, Middle East Institute, 15.1.2015

Disputed Claims Over Qaeda Role in Paris Attacks / Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti and Rukmini Callimachi, The New York Times, 14.1.2015

The Strategic Blunder Behind the War on Terror / Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 13.1.2015

Antiterrorisme : nul système n’est infaillible / Marc Hecker, Libération, 12.1.2015

Comment déradicaliser les islamistes? / Pierre Conesa, 9.1.2015

Abou Moussab Al-Souri, l’homme qui a théorisé le “nouveau jihad” / Gael Cogné, France TV, 8.1.2015

Terrorist Attack In Paris Proves We Must Defeat The Islamist Jihadists / Michael Ledeen, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, 8.1.2015

Un desafío en auge / Fernando Reinares, El País, 7.1.2015

Security, surveillance and police cooperation

In response to the attack, EU interior ministers confirmed their commitment to enhance security and police cooperation, in particular in the fields of border control, airline passenger data registration and cybersecurity. While the objective is to detect any extremist activity as early as possible, some actors fear that these new initiatives may impinge on the right to privacy.

The law is lagging behind in the fight against terror / Jonathan Evans, former director-general of MI5, The Sunday Telegraph, 18.01.2015

As Europe Moves Aggressively Against Terrorism , New Challenges Emerge / Alison Smale, James Kanter, The New York Times, 16.1.2015

Paris attacks expose new era of insecurity / Oxford Analytica, 16.1.2015

«L’agence Europol n’est pas utilisée de manière optimale»/ Christophe Lamfalussy, Libération, 16.1.2015

Mobilisation internationale pour renforcer le contrôle d’Internet / Alain Barluet, Le Figaro, 15.1.2015

Response to Paris attacks will extend to EU / Oxford Analytica, 12.1.2015

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