Muslims in France and around the world banded together on Wednesday to strongly condemn the deadliest terror attack the country has seen in the past two decades.
Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that has become notorious for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. One of the men reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar” as they unleashed a barrage of bullets that left at least twelve dead.
Muslim leaders and activists immediately denounced the terrorists actions, reiterating the verse in the Quran that tells Muslims when one kills just one innocent person, it is as if he has killed all of humanity.
The Grand Mosque of Paris, one of the largest in France, issued a statement on its website shortly after the attacks, saying its community was "shocked" and "horrified" by the violence.
We strongly condemn these kind of acts and we expect the authorities to take the most appropriate measures. Our community is stunned by what just happened. It’s a whole section of our democracy that is seriously affected. This is a deafening declaration of war. Times have changed, and we are now entering a new era of confrontation.
The Union of Islamic Organizations of France also responded on its website, writing: “The UOIF condemns in the strongest terms this criminal attack, and these horrible murders. The UOIF expresses its deepest condolences to the families and all the employees of Charlie Weekly.”
Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy mosque in Paris's Seine-Saint-Denis suburb, spoke with France's BFM TV and condemned the attackers, saying, "Their barbarism has nothing to do with Islam."
"I am extremely angry," Chalghoumi said. "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."
Countless Muslim activists, leaders and authors took to social media Wednesday to express horror and dismay at the attack:
You shouted 'Allahu Akber' whilst murdering others? You are a disgrace to my religion. May the dead rest in peace #notinmyname #charliehebdo
— Ali Gokal (@aligokal) January 7, 2015
Dr. Bilal Rana, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, said that her organization plans to launch a letter writing campaign to openly condemn the attack:
The sanctity of human life is central to our faith. That lives could taken in this manner for any cause is appalling and unjustifiable.
Members of the Muslim Advisory Council to the NYPD "unequivocally" denounced the shooting.
Regardless of motive or rationalization or evidence or excuse, killing twelve innocent people to avenge Prophet Muhammad has no justification and must be condemned without citing any victimhood. At this moment of national grief we ask the French people not to allow this senseless violence perpetrated by three terrorists to put a wedge between peaceful French Muslims and the broader public. We call upon the authorities to swiftly apprehend the perpetrators who should be punished to the full extent of the French law.