Secretary of State John Kerry gave a lengthy statement on the Paris terror attack in English followed by French, saying he agreed with “the French iman who today called the slain journalists martyrs for liberty.”
Dalil Boubakeur, the head of the French Muslim Council and imam of the Paris mosque, told Le Figaro that the brazen assault that killed 12 at magazine Charlie Hebdo was “a thunderous declaration of war.”
“We absolutely condemn such an act and we look forward to the authorities meting out justice,” Boubakeur said, adding the Muslim community “is dumbfounded by what has happened.”
Kerry offered his remarks at a planned presser with Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna.
“I would like to say directly to the people of Paris and all of France that each and every American stands with you today. Not just in horror or in anger or in outrage for this vicious act of violence, but we stand with you in solidarity and in commitment both to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause which the extremists fear so much and which has always united our two countries, freedom,” Kerry said.
“No country knows better than France that freedom has a price because France gave birth to democracy itself. France sparked so many revolutions of the human spirit, born of freedom and of free expression, and that is what the extremists fear the most,” he continued. “They may wield weapons, but we in France and in the United States share a commitment to those who wield something that’s far more powerful, not just a pen, but a pen that represents an instrument of freedom, not fear.”
“Free expression and a free press are core values. They are universal values. Principles that can be attacked but never eradicated, because brave and decent people around the world will never give in to the intimidation and the terror of those seeking to destroy those values.”
Kerry called today’s murders “part of a larger confrontation, not between civilizations, no, but between civilization itself and those who are opposed to a civilized world.”
“The murderers dared proclaim, Charlie Hebdo is dead. But, make no mistake. They are wrong. Today, tomorrow, in Paris, in France or across the world, the freedom of express that this magazine — no matter what your feelings were about it, the freedom of expression that it represented is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror. On the contrary, it will never be eradicated by any act of terror,” he added.
“What they don’t understand, what these people who do these things don’t understand, is they will only strengthen the commitment to that freedom and our commitment to a civilized world.”