The tragedy in France masks another, bigger, tragedy

The tragedy in France masks another, bigger, tragedy
4 min read
The killing of the French journalists is undoubtedly a despicable, evil act. But it should not be used as a cover - or an excuse - for other evils.
The world may be Charlie, but Arab victims of terror are too easily forgotten [Getty]

First and foremost, one must condemn the inhumane attack on the Charlie Hebdo premises that left 12 people dead, among them journalists.

It is a distasteful and unacceptable act; a shameful act.

The perpetrators have nothing to do with true Islamic faith and doctrine, despite their claims that the attack was in revenge for the defamation of Prophet Mohammed's image, ideology and practice, by this newspaper and others in Denmark, Sweden and Holland.

Most Arab and Muslim countries, Arab human rights organisations and Muslim religious institutions such as al-Azhar in Cairo, condemned this appalling act.

Arab leaders called French President Francois Hollande and other members of his government, expressing their outrage and denouncing what happened. These stands mirror Arab values and ethics toward those plagued by disasters. No disasters are greater than murdering people and offending their very dignity and pride.

Arabs are victims too

Israel practices the harshest kind of terrorism against Palestinians.

But this shameful act, which occurred to our fellow humans from Europe, should not make us forget that as Arabs we are subject to organised terror - state terrorism.

Israel practices the harshest kind of terrorism against Palestinians. More than 2,000 people were killed in less than two months last year in Gaza, and 60 others were murdered in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

A Palestinian minister was killed last month and Israeli bulldozers continue to level Palestinian houses. Farmlands are torched and olive trees uprooted, farmers prevented from harvesting their trees. The European community has remained silent on Israel's repeated burning of houses in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Not only that, but many European Security Council members have vetoed a resolution to condemn Israel's terrorism or, at best, abstained from voting.

Assaults on Muslims, namely Arabs dwelling in Europe, are on the rise, mainly in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Germany.

In Britain, a Saudi student was stabbed to death last year. Three Emirati women were assaulted in their hotel room in London by a man with a hammer. Dozens of Muslim Arabs are killed in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon on a daily basis by European and American airstrikes, while others are murdered in Yemen with American drones.

No one mentions these deaths.

One cannot also forget the massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down 29 Muslim worshippers and wounded 150 at a mosque in 1994, a crime that took place under the noses of the Israeli army and police.

How did the international community react to this crime?

Was the reaction as strong as it was in Paris? I cannot mention all terrorist acts practiced against the Arabs at home and abroad as we have don't have enough space.

Limits of freedom?

Why don't we disagree with Muslims in a civil manner instead of acting like a bunch of libertine thugs yourselves?
- Bill Donohue, US Catholic League

Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League in the United States, made a sound statement, criticising US and international media outlets' reaction to the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

On Neil Cavuto's Fox News programme, Donohue said Arab Muslims had the right to be angry and that the media outlets were "so provocative".

He also attacked the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.

"I denounce those who have no self-restraint and who abuse their freedoms with very offensive and vulgar depictions of Prophet Mohammed," he said.

"I am sick and tired of the narcissism of the artists in this country and abroad who say the only right is my right to do whatever I want. Why don't we disagree with Muslims in a civil manner instead of acting like a bunch of libertine thugs yourselves?"

The French government has mobilised millions of supporters in a show of protest against the Charlie Hebdo shooting. European, American and Arab political figures and leaders participated in the rally, which became viewed by some as an attempt to turn European public opinion against Islam and Muslims and pave the way for harsh measures against the Arab and Muslim community in Europe.

Others said that these protests aim to cleanse Europe of Arab emigrants under the slogan of combating terrorism.

A third opinion has it that the French government is suffering a domestic crisis and this attack is being used to reinforce its position at home. After all, every cloud has a silver lining.

Last but not least: Arab leaders, never should you allow anyone to insult your religion or sacred symbols. Beware of what is plotted against you. We are all honest fighters or terrorists, wherever it comes from.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.