Terror has taken over Paris as two gunmen have attacked the office of the popular satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Thursday morning. The attackers killed 12 people, including the publication’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier. Charlie Hebdo, French for “Weekly Charlie,” is a daily newspaper outlet in Paris. The publication has evidently been one to voice confident and controversial religious opinions, publishing controversial articles and comic strips against several religions including Islam, Judaism, and Catholicism. The magazine is well known internationally for, among other things, their depictions of Muhammad.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo was reported to be the deadliest terrorist incident in France in over 50 years. Prior to the assail, the attackers yelled to a man on the street, “Tell the media this is from al-Qaeda in Yemen.” The two suspects have been identified by the names of Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, who are both French nationals. Hamyd Mourad was initially named as a suspect but has since been released by the police with no charges.
During the attack, the two men called out specific names of workers for the paper, firing 50 shots rapidly during a weekly editorial meeting. Due to its edgy content, Charlie Hebdo has been the target for violent attacks for many years.
With such a sudden attack, one might assume that the newspaper would put publishing on hold for a bit. However, the publication has no plans to put anything on hold. French President Francois Hollande expressed his concerns about the terrorist attacks, claiming that even such a tragic event will not end the right of freedom of press in France. Charlie Hebdo will continue to publish satirical content just as they have been since the early 1970s.
The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, which means “I am Charlie” in French, has been trending on social media ever since the attack. The hashtag represents Charlie Hebdo‘s right to freedom of speech and expression without condemnation. On the other hand, those standing against the hashtag argue that, though an attack was unwarranted, the magazine should still be condemned for its offensive images. Nonetheless, #JeSuisCharlie has become one of Twitter’s most popular hashtags ever, and it is continuing to unify France in the wake of a sudden and terrifying attack.