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By Stuart Rollo Updated January 13, Hundreds of thousands of French citizens take part in a solidarity march in Paris. The outpouring of collective grief and expressions of solidarity, centred in Paris but extending to rallies around the globe, in the wake of the terrorist attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo represent a heartening public reaction to the threat posed to hard-won liberties by Islamic fundamentalism.
However, this solidarity will remain incomplete, and any hope that it has of combatting Islamic fundamentalism will be thwarted, unless it incorporates those people who suffer by far the greatest threats to both life and liberty at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, Muslims themselves.
The exclamation "je suis Charlie" I am Charlie swept across social media, onto the rallies in the streets of Paris, and around the world in the immediate wake of the attacks. At the rallies in Paris yesterday it had transformed into "Je suis Charlie, je suis flic, je suis Juif" I am Charlie, I am the police, I am Jewishto incorporate the three main targets of the attacks.
When the terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo they were targeting the fundamental liberty of freedom of speech, when they executed police they were attacking one of the pillars of French civil society, and when they murdered French Jews they were acting out the neo-fascist impulses that have infused Islamic fundamentalism, which casts Jews as the puppet masters of a global conspiracy to dominate the Middle East and oppress Muslims.
Expressions of solidarity in the form of self-identification with these groups may approach a sufficient declaration of principles in reaction to the attacks in Paris, but if this movement is to be a sustained and global confrontation of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, it must make its main emphasis solidarity with the Muslims who experience much amplified assaults on their lives and freedoms every day.
The Kouachi brothers and their associates may have been born and raised in France, but their stated allegiance was with both Al Qaeda and ISIS, the two biggest players in a system of global terror and mass murder.
The problem will not be solved by rallying around the victims of these crimes in France alone. It is a common misconception in the West that our cultural and political institutions are the main targets of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism.
While propaganda from groups like ISIS will sometimes reference flying the black flag over Rome, Paris, or London, largely as a propaganda and recruitment tool among disaffected youth in European countries, their self-stated objective is to re-establish the Islamic Caliphate across the Muslim world.
This defining ambition of Islamic fundamentalism - the domination of vast swathes of territory from North Africa to South Asia, and the regional return to an oppressive form of governance based in the 7th century - can only be reached through the subjugation, at the point of a Kalashnikov, of the hundreds of millions of Muslims who live in these lands.
While civilian lives, civic institutions, and social freedoms are sometimes targeted to horrifying effect by fundamentalist Islamic terrorists in the West, they are being utterly decimated by the same groups across large swathes of Africa and the Middle East. When a dozen writers and cartoonists are tragically murdered in France, society surges and millions of people, particularly the youth, are invigorated to continue the work of a free press.
On the same day that the two brave police officers in France were murdered by the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, a car bomb was detonated by the same group outside a police academy in Yemen.
At least 35 people were killed, mainly students at the academy and people hoping to enrol. It was the second car bomb to explode in Yemen; another attack the previous week killed over two dozen people at a cultural centre in the city of Ibb.
Attacks like these are neither rare nor symbolic; they are designed to physically destroy the civil and cultural institutions of the state, and to deter the peaceful and law abiding majority from participation in civic life, lest they be murdered too.
To prevent this, the citizens of the West need to extend their solidarity to the Muslim people who are forced to confront fundamentalist violence every day.
They must firmly state that they stand with Muslims, not demand they take responsibility for their own oppression, as Rupert Murdoch does in one of his recent tweets, expressing a depressingly common Western sentiment.
This is not a war between Islam and the West; it is a war between Islamic fundamentalists and the rest. For the popular mass movement of people in the West standing up to fundamentalist Islamic terrorism to have any real effect, two components must be added to the slogan: Stuart Rollo is a freelance writer and essayist focusing on Asia-Pacific politics, international security, and Australian national affairs.
View his full profile here.Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin All fanaticism is negative, all religious fanaticism is very negative and persistent – be it Hindu, Christian, Muslim or any other, and Islam is the most bloodthirsty expression of religious fanaticism; motivated as the Muslims are by the Instruction Manual of Terrorism – the Quran that has the ravings and rantings against the Kafirs.
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