France Shows Support For Charlie Hebdo As Police Search For The Massacre Gunmen









French police are searching a wooded area northeast of Paris for the 2 Islamist brothers who are believed to be responsible for carrying out the Charlie Hebdo newspaper shooting massacre in Paris on Wednesday that killed twelve people and injured eleven others.

Police have identified the two brothers as Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32, both of Paris.

The Kouachi brothers are French born sons of Algerian parents and were under surveillance by the police for their past Islamist activities.

Cherif Kouachi was convicted for terrorism in 2008 after smuggling European Muslims to join the armed conflict in Iraq.

European authorities reported that in 2011 Said Kouachi trained with al-Qaeda in Yemen.

The Charlie Hebdo massacre is the deadliest attack that France has faced in 20 years since the Saint Michel bombing in 1995.

Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical newspaper that pushed the boundaries of expression and freedom of the press.

The newspaper was known for mocking nearly everything from religion to politics to mainstream culture.

In November 2011 the offices of Charlie Hebdo was badly damaged in an arson attack.

The controversial paper received a variety of threats from Islamic extremists after publishing a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad in 2006.

Following the massacre on January 7th that took the lives of eight journalists, an overwhelming number of French citizens displayed their support for Charlie Hebdo and what the newspaper stands for in a country that has the largest number of Muslim immigrants in Europe and yet fiercely maintains a secular mindset.

In rallies across Europe on Thursday thousands of Europeans held up signs and pens in support of Charlie Hebdo.

President Obama gave some remarks on Wednesday about the Charlie Hedbo massacre and offered sympathies to the people of Paris and the people of France, calling them “one of  our oldest and strongest allies”.

Recalling the strong support the French showed the United States after 9/11 in New York, President Obama spoke about the need to support France and the common thread that ties the two countries together: freedom of expression.

“The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom — of speech and freedom of the press” Obama said.

“But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few” Obama added.

French President Francois Hollande also spoke about the need to support freedom of the press in French society.

“No act of barbarism will ever extinguish the freedom of the press. We are a united country and we will rally together” Hollande said.

-Johnathan Schweitzer






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