Article Lead Image

Francisco Osorio/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Muslim leaders worldwide condemn ‘cowardly’ attack on Charlie Hebdo

Religious leaders denounce acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.


Dell Cameron


Posted on Jan 8, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 7:48 pm CDT

Muslim leaders across the world rushed to denounce a tragic shooting that left 12 dead at the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.

A manhunt continues for two French suspects of Algerian descent, Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34. An alleged third accomplice, Hamyd Mourad, 18, surrendered to police in the early hours of Thursday, according to French media sources.

A major police operation is currently underway to apprehend the remaining suspects responsible for the deadliest attack on French soil in over 50 years.

Overwhelmingly, Muslim organizations throughout the world have condemned the terrorist attack, which left dead two police officers, as well as four of the magazine’s acclaimed cartoonists, including its editor, and six others. Ahmed Merabet, the first person killed during the attack, was a French Muslim police officer.

America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement on Wednesday calling the terrorists’ actions a “brutal and cowardly attack.” CAIR Director Nihad Awad said the organization repudiates “any such assault on freedom of speech, even speech that mocks faiths and religious figures.”

Awad took to Twitter on Thursday morning to say that anyone with knowledge of attackers whereabouts had a “religious duty” to inform the authorities.

The attack was likewise condemned by the French Muslim Council, which serves as the de facto representation of French practitioners of Islam.

“The barbarous attack of extreme gravity is also an attack against democracy and freedom of the press,” the group said in a statement. “Our first thoughts are with the victims and their families for whom we have total solidarity.” 

Across the English channel, the Muslim Council of Britain said, “Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause may be, nothing justifies the taking of life.”

An official at the prestigious Al-Azhar University, which for over a thousand years has served as a center of Islamic learning in Cairo, Egypt, asserted to members of the media Wednesday that Islam denounces any violence, “even if it was in response to an offense committed against sacred Muslim sentiments.”

The governments of Arab countries, including Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Qatar, have likewise issued statements against acts of violence perpetrated on behalf of the Islamic faith. Saudi Arabia called the attack “cowardly,” adding that the terrorists’ actions are “rejected by the true Islamic religion.”

In an incident thought to be related, a shooter dressed similarly to the Charlie Hebdo attackers killed a female police officer in the Paris suburb of Montrouge on Thursday. Authorities have yet to officially connect it to Wednesday’s massacre.

Photo by Francisco Osorio/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 8, 2015, 3:52 pm CST