News Release

Attack on Charlie Hebdo


‘The sexual slaves of Boko Haram are angry: where are our benefits checks?’

Mahmood was an editorial cartoonist for Dawn, a leading national newspaper in Pakistan. He is now internationally syndicated with the New York Times Syndicate. He said today: “I knew Stephane Charbonnier [Charlie Hebdo‘s editor]. I first met him in Paris at a exhibition of my work. Three other cartoonists were killed in this cowardly act at the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo. While right-wing groups stir up Islamophobia in Europe, the Muslim populations are stumbling in denial over the escalating role of their own extremists. Muslims need to be more at ease and informed about their faith. Nowhere in the Koran does it say to kill sacrilegious cartoonists. A real tragedy.” Time magazine reports “Mosques Attacked in France Following Charlie Hebdo Attack.”

RANIA KHALEK, raniakhalek at, @RaniaKhalek
An independent journalist and author of Dispatches from the Underclass, Khalek’s Twitter feed has scrutinized many prevailing assumptions about the attack on Charlie Hebdo: “There is something truly alarming about the celebration of #CharieHebdo as a beacon of satire and western culture. … Pointing out the virulent racism & bigotry in #CharlieHebdo doesn’t justify yesterday’s massacre. Ignoring it is dishonest. … Here’s the racist trash ppl are praising: ‘The sexual slaves of Boko Haram are angry: where are our benefits checks?‘ … Remember when [Sen.] Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) celebrated expunging killed Gaza journos from Newseum’s fallen list? Today he values freedom.”

Khalek also noted that AP is reporting about one of the suspects: “Cherif Kouachi was convicted in 2008 of terrorism charges for helping funnel fighters to Iraq’s insurgency, and sentenced to 18 months in prison. During his 2008 trial, he told the court he was motivated by his outrage at television images of torture of Iraqi inmates at the U.S. prison at Abu Ghraib.”

For background, see from the Paris-based journalist Diana Johnstone on CounterPunch: “What to Say When You Have Nothing to Say?” — which notes double standards in who Charlie Hebdo satirizes or attacks; noting that in 2002, its then-editor Philippe Val fired the cartoonist Siné “on grounds of ‘anti-Semitism.'” See also from the website Qantara from 2012: “Provocation as a Marketing Strategy.”

Editor of the media watch group FAIR’s magazine Extra!, Jim Naureckas writes in “Remembering Victims of Terror — and Forgetting Some Others:” “Here’s ‘former CIA deputy director and CBS News senior security consultant’ Mike Morell (CBS Morning News, 1/7/15) giving his expert commentary on the Charlie Hebdo massacre: ‘This is the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the attacks in London in July of 2005. We haven’t lost this many people since that attack.’

“So apparently Morell doesn’t remember the bloodbath in Norway in July 2011, when Anders Breivik killed eight people by bombing government buildings in Oslo and then murdered 59 others, mostly teenagers, at a youth camp associated with the Labour Party. This was actually a deadlier attack then the London bombings, which killed 56.”

California State University professor As’ad AbuKhalil writes at his Angry Arab blog: “Western policies in Syria have produced, and will continue to produce, terrorist organizations the likes of which we have not seen since the creation of Al-Qa’idah. The enthusiastic policies of arming and sponsoring ‘rebel groups in Syria’ are responsible for the proliferation of fanatical terrorist groups which will terrorize those countries that had sponsored them.

“The source of all those terrorist groups is known: Gulf regimes and their Western sponsors. They have been indulging those regimes from the days of the Cold War. I was on the side of the left and progressive forces during the Cold War, while you — in the West — were on the side of those speaking the language of Jihad and…oil.”