Hours after two policemen and 10 others were killed Wednesday in a shooting at the Paris offices of French satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo -- an apparent attack by Islamic militants -- moderate Muslims have taken to Twitter to condemn the killings and deny any association between their faith and that of Islamic extremists.
“All day today, I've seen tweets and press releases from Muslim leaders from across the world, and Muslim religious institutions, condemning the Charlie Hebdo attacks. They're not really obliged to, in my opinion,” H.A. Hellyer, a nonresident fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, told International Business Times in an email. “We haven't seen the calls for Buddhists worldwide, for example, to condemn radical Buddhists in Myanmar.”
And when prominent Muslims do make public statements, he contended, their voices are rarely heard.
“Each time a terrorist atrocity takes place, the condemnations of Muslim mainstream figures are barely registered,” Hellyer said, pointing to recent statements by the Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia, French Muslim leaders, the Azhar University and Muslim public intellectuals who have condemned the attacks.
“And yet, we're still doing stories about ‘Are moderate Muslims speaking out?’” Hellyer said.
Some moderate Muslims reacting on Twitter are using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie – which translates to “I am Charlie” -- to condemn the attack. Some are outraged over what they see as an assault on free speech; others are concerned Muslims will be linked to an attack committed by extremists and become the target of discrimination.
A similar sentiment was heard after a lone gunman with extremist Muslim ties held 18 people hostage at a café in Sydney, Australia, on Dec. 15. That attack prompted the hashtag #illridewithyou to trend worldwide after anti-Islamic tweets were sent and the Australian Defence League, an ultra-right-wing group, threatened violence.
Below are some tweets from Muslims worldwide after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris:
Do not let today's tragedy turn into unnecessary anti-Muslim sentiment. These people are clearly not quite right in the head. #JeSuisCharlie
— Will Nickell (@WillNickell) January 7, 2015
As a Muslim, killing innocent people in the name of Islam is much, much more offensive to me than any cartoon can ever be. #CharlieHebdo
— Iyad El-Baghdadi (@iyad_elbaghdadi) January 7, 2015
Let's repeat: Islam the faith has nothing to do w/ this. But the Muslim world must do more to deoxygenate these strayed sons. #CharlieHebdo
— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) January 7, 2015
To be Muslim is to constantly carry the weight of an apology that is not yours to deliver.
— Roqayah Chamseddine (@roqchams) January 7, 2015
Muslim can't be terrorist, and terrorist can't be Muslim. I deplore and strongly condemn the inhuman attack against #CharlieHebdo
— Ihsan Yılmaz (@ihsanylmz) January 7, 2015
My family is French. My family is Muslim. I am a journalist. We are grieving. #CharlieHebdo
— Farran Nehme (@selfstyledsiren) January 7, 2015
Did you hear the joke about the Catholic, Jew and Muslim? NO you won't because some bloody extremist will not get the humour. #CharlieHebdo
— Liam Shorte (@SMSFCoach) January 7, 2015
@Kermitskrackers As a peaceful law abiding muslim citizen in the west I feel compelled to explain my stance on such barbaric acts in France
— InterMarketAnalysis (@Trader_Aadil) January 7, 2015
As a Muslim, i condemn both killings and the violence of making such sketches/cartoons
— MIA (@panazri) January 7, 2015
As a Muslim, killing innocent people in the name of Islam is so offensive to me than any cartoon can ever be! #CharlieHebdo
— Taqeya (@xxTotoxx94) January 7, 2015
— Just Me (@LFC_Me_) January 7, 2015
#JeSuisCharlie even if i as a muslim do not agree with most of their thoughts they still have their right n their free country to say it .
— A.M.R_Mohd_Sarh (@l_mohdsarh) January 7, 2015
@LittleSmokeys How can they be 'devout Muslims' when Islam regards murder as a sin. Fact is they're non-Muslim psychopaths, that is all
— Shadi Mota (@shaydzm) January 7, 2015
As a Syrian Muslim Suffering from terrorism of the State I can't Find Words enough to express my wrath of this criminal act #CharlieHebdo
— Zaher Habasch (@habaschz) January 7, 2015
As a Muslim, the #CharlieHebdo caricature didn't offend me. Its consequences did.
— summer. (@SummerNazif) January 7, 2015
— Majed Abusalama (@MajedAbusalama) January 7, 2015