By Kayla Coursey
January 20, 2015
“Je suis Charlie” has become an increasingly familiar phrase since the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris, France, on January 7, 2015. Two gunmen broke into the Charlie Hebdo offices and opened fire, resulting in the deaths of twelve people. Al-Qaeda accepted responsibility for these two men’s actions.
The two men, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, attacked Charlie Hebdo because they were offended by the magazine’s most recent cover, which depicted Muhammad in a negative way. When they attacked, they shouted, “We have avenged the prophet!”
Two days later, on the morning of January 9, the two suspects were found twenty-two miles away from Paris and then surrounded by police. The stand-off ended that afternoon when the two suspects came out of the building in which they were hiding and opened fire on the police. The brothers were shot dead and two police officers were wounded.
Visual depictions of Muhammad are prohibited by Muslims so that the Prophet does not become an idol. The belief that Muhammad must not be given a visual representation has been ignored by satirical magazines, like Charlie Hebdo, and continues to fuel the fire.
After the attacks at Charlie’s offices, a new cover was released, showing Muhammad holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie). These actions have only incited further unrest.
Muslim people in France are responding to the chant of “Jes suis Charlie” with “Je ne suis pas Charlie” (I am not Charlie). The phrase “I am Charlie” has further deepened the schism between the west and Muslims.
Forty-five churches in Niger were burned down in protests regarding Charlie Hebdo’s controversial drawings of the prophet Muhammad. Protests have also been spreading through Jordan, as well as vigils in Berlin and Israel. Protests have also been spreading through Africa, the Middle East, and Europe regarding the publishing.