It’s been eight days since the Paris headquarters of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was attacked, claiming 12 lives. Less than a day after the barbaric slaughter, a Kosher supermarket was held by terrorists, killing four hostages and two police officers when the ordeal finally ended with a shootout. The days that followed were filled with funerals and rallies – including one that united world leaders to publicly stand together against Islamic extremists.
French President Francois Hollande has iterated the truth about the perpetrators of the tragic events. “These fanatics have nothing to do with Islam,” he said in a televised statement. The suspects in the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks were promoting a twisted and perverted ideology that has claimed the lives of the very people they claim to defend. Terrorism, in the form of Islamic extremism, has killed more Muslims than anyone from the west.
The four terrorists, two brothers who attacked the Charlie Hebdo office and the couple who held hostages at the Kosher supermarket, justified their deeds in the name of Islam. But the death of Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet, who was killed execution style by one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers, and the heroism of a Muslim employee at the kosher supermarket, who saved six hostages by hiding them in an unplugged freezer, reveal that none of these violent aggressions have to do with the religion they upheld. The attackers were there to kill people, regardless if they’re Muslim or not, and destroy the peace in the city of Paris.
The Business Insider reported, citing the Global Terrorism Index as source that 80% of all deaths from terrorism in 2013 were in Muslim-majority countries Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. In the past fourteen years, only 5% of all deaths have been from developed countries, though they have been the deadliest.
The continued killing of Muslims in these countries has yet to end. Four days before the deadly attack at Charlie Hebdo, the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria has launched a massive raid from the predominantly Muslim town of Baga. Reports have said that up to 2,000 people may have been murdered from that raid. CNN reported that the slaughter could be the deadliest attack yet from the terrorist group.
The group chooses no one when it comes to whom they’ll kill. Many of their victims are Muslims, some of whom are even killed right at their place of worship. In a 2013 article published by the Christian Science Monitor, it noted that Boko Haram was using a new tactic for their slaughter– kill Muslims as they pray.
“Early Sunday morning as villagers prayed, men in camouflage crept into a local mosque and opened fire, killing at least 44 worshipers and sending dozens of others to the hospital, according to local security sources,” Heather Murdock of the CS Monitor wrote. “Some 20 miles away, 12 other people were killed in a similar attack.”
This ideology of intolerance and hate, cloaked in the pseudo-brand of Islam, has put to death the peace-loving followers of the faith by the tens of thousands, if not by millions. Islamic extremism maybe the greatest danger our generation faces. It continues to claim lives, invoke fear, and lately, it has began toppling local governments with the goal of establishing a caliphate that will bring great regress to humanity.
As we continue to face the reality of reading and hearing about the fatal consequence of a belief system that has corrupted the tenets of Islam, may we never forget the greatest victims of this form of terrorism: Moderate Muslims, whose only intent is to live a normal life and be part of a civilized society.