The sophisticated, military-style strike Wednesday on a French newspaper known for satirizing Islam is sure to accelerate the growth of anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe, feeding far-right nationalist parties like France’s National Front.
Okay, let’s stop right there — what was “sophisticated” or even “military” about a couple of guys armed with AKs rushing into an office and shooting people? Gangsters do it all the time. Now, let’s go find an academic or two we can quote: look, here’s some now!
“This is a dangerous moment for European societies,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. “With increasing radicalization among supporters of jihadist organizations and the white working class increasingly feeling disenfranchised and uncoupled from elites, things are coming to a head.”
Olivier Roy, a French scholar of Islam and radicalism, called the Paris attacks, the most deadly terrorist attack on French soil since the Algerian war, “a quantitative and therefore qualitative turning point,” noting the target and the number of victims. “This was a maximum-impact attack, they did this to shock the public, and in that sense they succeeded,” he said.
Now, let’s rush to assure people that this isn’t, you know, “real Islam”:
Paris was traumatized, with widespread fears of another attack. “We feel less and less safe,” said Didier Cantat, 34, standing outside the police barriers at the scene. “If it happened today it will happen again, maybe even worse.” Mr. Cantat spoke for many when he said the attacks could fuel greater anti-immigrant sentiment. “We are told Islam is for God, for peace,” he said. “But when you see this other Islam, with the jihadists, I don’t see peace, I see hatred. So people can’t tell which is the real Islam.”
Let’s not forget to honor Muslim sensibilities by capitalizing the “p” in the word “prophet,” deliberately misuse the word “conservative,” and blame French colonialism:
The newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in its raucous, vulgar and sometimes commercially driven effort to offend every Islamic piety, including the figure of the Prophet Muhammad, became a symbol of an aggressive French secularism that saw its truest enemy in the rise of conservative Islam in France, which is estimated to have the largest Muslim population in Europe.
On Wednesday, Islamic radicals struck back. “This secular atheism is an act of war in this context,” said Andrew Hussey, a Paris-based professor of postcolonial studies. Professor Hussey is the author of “The French Intifada,” which describes the tangled relations between France and its Muslims, still marked by colonialism and the Algerian war.
And let’s work in fears of a “backlash” as well:
“Politically, the official left in France has been in denial of the conflict between France and the Arab world,” Professor Hussey said. “But the French in general sense it.” The attack left some Muslims fearing a backlash. “Some people when they think terrorism, think Muslims,” said Arnaud N’Goma, 26, as he took a cigarette break outside the bank where he works.
And that’s just the first few grafs. This newspaper is a disgrace.