Author Topic: "a cry for freedom"  (Read 861 times)

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Offline thaiga

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"a cry for freedom"
« on: January 11, 2015, 12:06:49 PM »
France hunts suspect, prepares for mass anti-terrorism rally

PARIS (AP) — France vowed to combat terrorism with "a cry for freedom" in a giant rally for unity Sunday after three days of bloodshed that horrified the world. Police searched for a woman linked to the three al-Qaida-inspired attackers, but a Turkish official said she appears to have already slipped into Syria.

The rally Sunday is also a huge security challenge for a nation on alert for more violence, after 17 people and three gunmen were killed over three days of attacks on a satirical newspaper, a kosher supermarket and on police that have left France a changed land.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched Saturday in cities from Toulouse in the south to Rennes in the west to honor the victims, and Paris expects hundreds of thousands more at Sunday's unity rally. More than 2,000 police are being deployed, in addition to tens of thousands already guarding synagogues, mosques, schools and other sites around France.

Unity against extremism is the overriding message for Sunday's rally. Among the expected attendees are the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president. The Ukrainian president and Russian foreign minister, And the leaders of Britain, Germany, NATO, the Arab League and African nations. And the French masses, from across the political and religious spectrum.

Top European and U.S. security officials are also holding a special emergency meeting in Paris about fighting terrorism.

The rally "must show the power, the dignity of the French people who will be shouting out of love of freedom and tolerance," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday.

"Journalists were killed because they defended freedom. Policemen were killed because they were protecting you. Jews were killed because they were Jewish," he said. "The indignation must be absolute and total — not for three days only, but permanently."

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen said it directed Wednesday's attack against the publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a frequent target of the weekly's satire.

French radio RTL released audio Saturday of Amedy Coulibaly, speaking by phone from the kosher supermarket where he killed four hostages, in which he lashes out over Western military campaigns against extremists in Syria and Mali. He describes Osama bin Laden as an inspiration.

The focus of the police hunt is on Coulibaly's widow, Hayat Boumeddiene. Police named her as an accomplice of her husband in the shooting of a policewoman and think she is armed.

But a Turkish intelligence official told The Associated Press on Saturday that a woman by the same name flew into Sabiha Gokcen, which is Istanbul's secondary airport, on Jan. 2, and that she resembled a widely distributed photo of Boumeddiene.

Turkish authorities believe she traveled to the Turkish city of Sanliurfa near the Syrian border two days later, according to the official, who added: "She then disappeared.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The French president held an emergency security meeting Saturday and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the government is maintaining its terror alert for the Paris region at the highest level while investigators determine whether the attackers were part of a larger extremist network.

Five people are in custody in connection with the attacks, and family members of the attackers have been given preliminary charges.

In a sign of the tense atmosphere, a security perimeter was briefly imposed at Disneyland Paris on Saturday before being lifted, a spokeswoman said, without elaborating.

The prime minister and Muslim and Christian supporters joined Jewish groups in a vigil after sundown Saturday to mourn the four people killed at the kosher market. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked France to maintain heightened security at Jewish institutions even after the return to routine.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attacks. Gaza's Islamic Hamas leaders condemned the attack on the satirical newspaper, but pointedly refrained from mentioning the kosher supermarket.

Loyalists of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group extolled the attackers of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper as "lions of the caliphate." They described the attack as revenge for the French satirical publication's mockery of Islam's Prophet Muhammad and for France's military involvement in Muslim countries.

That attack Wednesday was the first act in France's worst terrorist attacks in decades.

Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi methodically massacred 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices, led police on a chase for two days and were then cornered Friday at a printing house near Charles de Gaulle Airport on Friday. Separately, Coulibaly shot a policewoman to death and attacked the Paris kosher market, threatening more violence unless the police let the Kouachis go.

It all ended at dusk Friday with near-simultaneous raids at the printing plant and the market that left all three gunmen dead.

Printing house chief Michel Catalano, held hostage briefly by the brothers, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he feels like "a survivor."

Catalano said he did what he could to keep them from finding out that there was another employee hiding inside. "If I'm still here today, it's because they allowed me to leave."

Western countries have voiced increasing fears about Islamic radicals who train abroad and come home to stage attacks.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed it directed the French attacks, according to a statement to the AP. Yemeni security officials say Said Kouachi is suspected of having fought for al-Qaida in Yemen.

The attacks in France, as well as a hostage siege last month in Sydney and the October killing of a solder near Canada's parliament, prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a global travel warning for Americans. It also cited an increased risk of reprisals against U.S. and Western targets for the U.S.-led intervention against Islamic State group militants in Syria and Iraq.

Charlie Hebdo, which lampoons other religions and political figures as well as Islamic extremism, plans a special edition Wednesday. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders launched a fund Saturday to raise money to allow it to continue publishing.

While the prime minister called Sunday's march a "cry for freedom," a witness to the kosher market massacre said the country isn't taking the Islamic extremist threat seriously enough.

"We're a country at war," said Daikh Ramdan, 28, manager of a nearby service station. "We haven't understood."

Contributors included Associated Press writers Trung Latieule, Thomas Adamson, Elaine Ganley, Adam Pemble and Deborah Gouffran in Paris; Desmond O. Butler in Istanbul; Chris van den Hond in Dammartin-en-Goele, France, and Aron Heller in Jerusalem.

French police hunt for fourth terror attack suspect
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: Killing is not the answer
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2015, 12:17:23 PM »
There is outrage sweeping across newsrooms throughout the world over the heinous murder of 12 people, 10 of whom were journalists, in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris on Wednesday.

People attend before a rally in Rennes, western France, on Sunday, as tens of thousands of people stage rallies across France following four days of terror and twin siege dramas. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER

But the fact remains: mocking a sacred religious figure is dangerous, as the charlie hebdo attack has shown

The other two killed were policemen - one was the police guard of the editor Stephane Charbonnier, and the other, who was shot in the street during the getaway, was a Muslim officer of Moroccan descent.

Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly newspaper that pokes fun at just about everything under the sun, including revered religious figures.

We may not agree with the mocking of religious and political figures by this magazine but it is hard to justify any act of terror in retaliation to the magazine's work. It was just plain murder, but carried out in the name of religion.

These terrorists have done nothing to help non-Muslims have a better understanding and appreciation of Islam, which promotes peace and tolerance.

They have, in fact, caused serious damage and have given those who push the Islamophobia agenda an excuse to take their plans a step further.

The world's media community shares the grief of the families of these journalists who were killed while performing editorial duties.

It is important to note that Muslim leaders including prime minister Najib Razak have come out quickly to condemn this horrendous act.

"Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms all acts of violence. We stand in unity with the French people. We must fight extremism with moderation," he said in a Twitter posting on Thursday.

Likewise, our foreign ministry said, "Nothing justifies taking innocent lives. Malaysia is united with the families of the victims, the Government of France, and the French people."

But even as we condemn the killings, there is an important lesson for the world, especially the Western world, to learn from this tragedy.

There may be no sacred cows for the Western media because of their fervent belief in the freedom of expression. But the reality is that not everyone accepts nor appreciates such a principle.

And because we are so globally connected, it is no longer possible to operate just within a particular society that embraces such an approach. The media's work, from whichever part of the world, has basically become freely available to everyone.

World political leaders and entertainment figures can be lampooned without any major consequences, but like it or not, religion remains an emotionally charged issue.

The demography of many European countries, especially France, the United Kingdom and Holland, has changed drastically with a high Muslim population. In fact, there are six million Muslims in France, making it the country with the most number of Muslims in Western Europe.

While Europe expects all Muslims to accept assimilation into Western values, not everyone can accept the regular mocking of Islam and, in this case, to denigrate and desecrate a Prophet, as Dr Chandra Muzaffar, president of the International Movement for a Just World, aptly described.

Certainly, the right of

expression does not include

the right to insult what is regarded as sacred and important to any religion and, by extension, the millions of its faithful.

The Prophet, Jesus, Buddha and the Hindu gods cannot be likened to politicians who are merely human beings who can be subjected to scrutiny, which satirical magazines can target regularly.

When it comes to matters of faith, so-called rationality is not something that can be applied nor used as argument for freedom of expression.

It is important that the Western media does not fan fears of Islam following this Paris tragedy. The reality is that many such incidents are perpetrated by evil people with their own agendas, not about their religion.

The recent incident in Sydney, for example, showed us how the authorities and the people of Sydney came together to reassure the Muslims there that although the gunman was a Muslim, the hostage crisis at the cafe was not about his religion.

There are good and bad people in every faith, as well as among those who do not believe in any religion.

There are, for example, white supremacists among Christians. Have we forgotten the 32-year-old right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who went on a shooting spree in 2012 in Norway?

Certainly, all right-minded Christians did not condone the action of the pastor of the Christian Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida who announced he would burn 200 Quran on the 2010 anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

His stupidity caused 20 innocent people to be killed as his threat sparked protests in the Middle East and Asia. He later apologised and pledged never to burn a Quran, but that came too late as lives were already lost.

Surely, the action of this man, who calls himself a pastor, is not representative of the religion.

In every religion, there will always be extremists who interpret their holy books to suit their personal or political agendas. There will be people who want to act and sound like religious figures and, likewise, there will be religious figures who want to be political figures. When the line between religion and politics becomes blurred, it becomes dangerous.

Religion can be so easily manipulated because the ordinary adherents of the faith are, by nature, fearful of challenging any religious authority, especially those who dress up to look religiously pious.

I remain a believer that the Sedition Act should be kept intact simply because there should be zero tolerance for anyone whose actions or words can lead to security concerns. But there should be a golden rule - please exercise the powers fairly. We cannot scream for certain individuals to be hauled up for sedition charges and in the same breath call for its abolition. We need to be consistent.

Let no Malaysian have the perception that some individuals or organisations have special protection that allows them to get away with offensive remarks or actions. Nor should the Sedition Act be used to shut up a political opponent or, worse, an academic who cites a case study in an article or gives a view to a newspaper.

But more importantly, the one lesson from Paris for the rest of the world is that we must never let extremists have their way. Moderation must always prevail. And let's not forget that we must not let evil defeat us but instead conquer evil with good.

The nation
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

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Re: "a cry for freedom" Video of Unity March in Paris on January 11
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2015, 12:48:45 PM »
VIDEO from January 11

Unity March in Paris on January 11 (FULL VIDEO)

Charlie Hebdo supporters are gathering to march through Paris to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attacks that shook France and killed 17 people, including journalists and police. Numerous world leaders have joined the rally, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.