Je suis Charlie….
Thousands also gathered in Trafalgar Square in London to show solidarity with France and to stand up for freedom of speech in the wake of the horrific terror attack in the heart of Paris earlier today. Demonstrators held pens aloft to proclaim their defiance against those who would snuff out our western values.
However, the spontaneous vigils are not the “shocking” response we refer to in our headline, it is what the Arab world is saying that is shocking! RRW guest writer ‘Pungentpeppers’ read Al Jazeera’s Arabic language facebook page today and has compiled the following eye-opening report about the view taken by Middle Eastern commenters.
How are Middle Easterners – some of whom are living in Western countries – reacting to news of the attacks in France?
Westerners are often taken aback when they finally hear the true Middle Eastern spin on terrorist attacks. Although our Western media dutifully repeats the now tiresome phrase “terrorism is not Islam” and reports that Muslims condemn such attacks, that is not the complete story. Do you know why Muslims condemn such attacks? The extent of their self-deception will stun you.
First, if you have not heard yet, the terrorists who launched the attack on the magazine “Charlie Hebdo” were yelling the already familiar Islamic victory cry of joy: “Allahu Akbar”. But more importantly, they also shouted – in fluent French – “nous avons vengé le Prophète!” or “we have avenged the Prophet”. These attackers meant that they got revenge for the magazine having published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed. Their mastery of French indicates they may be French citizens.
I visited Al Jazeera’s Arabic language Facebook page and checked the “top comments” to an early story that came out about the attack.
Keep in mind that, similar to story comments in the U.S., you’ll find the typical disturbed people and fools spouting nonsense. However, the number of likes received gives you a sense of whether a person is an outlier or represents an opinion supported by many other people.
The most popular comment, with over 500 likes, was made by Salim Mansour of Algeria. He said the Jews masterminded the attack in order to punish France for having recognized the State of Palestine and for voting in support of the State of Palestine in the Security Council. He added “And God only knows what the Jews are planning in the coming days”. Later, replying to his own comment, and garnering 16 additional votes, he stated that since the attack was done so quickly and professionally, it had to be the work of French and Jewish intelligence agencies and it was designed to foment hatred and increase Islamophobia.
Most of those who replied to his comment concurred. A woman from North Africa who lives in the U.S. wrote, “it is a point of view that cannot be ignored” and wished the commenter well. An Iraqi who lives in Germany wrote his words are logical since Israel hates Muslims and hates France after its vote, so Israel hit two birds with one stone. A few people, however, recognized the attack for what it was and dissented, saying it was religiously motivated. One man from Gaza demonstrated a typical Middle Eastern way of handling contradictory thoughts: he agreed, “that’s how people are thinking”, but added that if the dead defamed the prophet they should go to hell, but if they were innocent the attack is a crime. (Make up your mind whodunit – Israel or Islamists?!)
The next most popular comment, with over 230 likes, was made by Rachid Dzair of Algeria. His comment was “Your redemption, O Prophet of God.” I.e., the attack was religiously motivated to redeem the honor of the Muslim prophet, Mohammed. This comment stimulated the most replies, over 40. One woman’s reply, receiving 20 likes, said that they kill thousands of Muslims but when 11 of theirs dies, it’s a big deal. One man’s reply (also with 20 likes) said these are brutal, inhuman, terrorist acts. [Of course, it’s easy to condemn if you believe Israelis did it!] A man from Jordan picked up 5 votes for his reply that terrorism is a mental disease and has nothing to do with religion, reason or humanity. One worrying comment from a Syrian living in Sweden (security risk?) has a smiley face and said “Yes, your redemption, O Prophet of God. Good answer.”
Now I’ll pick some other popular comments.
A Moroccan got 100 votes for again presenting the theory that the Jews did it in response to France’s recognition of the State of Palestine and said the attack is an attempt to distort the image of Islam in France and Europe.
An Egyptian got close to 60 votes for saying that this is a political game for the purpose of targeting and persecuting Muslims in Europe.
A Tunisian living in France got 40 votes for his comment. He strongly criticized the attack, said (among other things) the terrorists are beasts and enemies of real Muslims and Islam, and that Islamic peoples must condemn them and tighten the noose around them or they will not stop until they send us all back to prehistoric times. The other Arabs were divided as to how they should disagree with his obviously “wrong” point of view: Two settled on the theory of the French vote on Palestine; two decided to say it was the cartoons; and a few questioned the Tunisian living in France along the lines of “Who told you it was Islamists who carried out the attacks?” [i.e., Don’t believe Western media!]
How do you feel after reading this? Are you disappointed – and worried? I’ll bet you didn’t know that that’s how many Middle Easterners think? Every time you hear on the news that Muslims condemn the attacks, pause and remember those Middle Eastern twists and spins.