Attacks of Terror Continue to Plague France


After recent killings in Nice, France, Prime Minister Jean Castex has raised the national attack alert to “emergency”. The killings in Nice were the third violent attack in less than two months linked to muslim extreamists in France. There have been a list of attacks in France recently. This includes other acts of terror in the past, like the attack in 2016 when a 19 ton cargo truck drove through crowds of people celebrating Bastille day in Nice, killing 86 and injuring 458. These events have caused many internal issues in France. There has been backlash against Muslims living in France, President Macron has faced outrage from many muslims, and there is debate in the country about its secularism and freedom of speech and expression.

One of the earliest and most well known attacks in France that started off this string of killings and debate is the Charlie Hebdo killing in early 2015, which was believed to be the deadliest attack in France since 1961. Two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi broke into the offices of French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hedbo in Paris, killing 12 people and injuring 11. The gunmen later identified themselves with the terrorist group al-Qaeda which took responsibility for the attack. The office was targeted due to its printing an illustration of the Prophet Muhammed in an offensive manner. Actually, any depiction of the prophet Muhammed is forbidden by the muslin religion and is seen as highly offensive. Charlie Hebdo was known for its usually offensive and sometimes crass publishing so their printing of Muhammad was nothing out of the ordinary for them. 

The most recent attack that prompted the prime minister to raise the national attack to emergency was occured on October 29th in near the Notre Dame Church in Nice.  A Tusain man armed with a knife and also carrying a copy of the Quran entered the church and attacked and killed three worshippers. Another “popular” attack that was the result of many protests and demonstrations was the beheading of French teacher Samuel Patty. The 47 year old teacher was decapitated after showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in class, the same ones that Charlie Hebdo had printed years before. The killer was 18 year old Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot and killed by authorities. 

     After the Charlie Hebdo killing millions of people flocked to the streets of Paris and other cities in France to denounce the killing and defend free expression and secularism in France. Although not quite drawing as large a crowd, the beheading of Samual Patty produced very similar results, with many French protesters flooding the streets. President Macron had said, in the aftermath of the beheading, that the killing amounted to an attack on “freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, and the right of blasphemy.”Macron faced heavy backlash from Muslims when he made a statement saying that Islam appeares to be a religion “in crisis” .

    Amidst all of these attacks, there has been backlash and retribution against the Muslim community and evident Islamiphobia in France. Two Arab women were stabbed near the Eiffel Tower only days after the beheading of Samuel Patty. A Muslim advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR issues a travel warrant cautioning Muslims not to travel to France as they may face “danger and discrimination there”. Many Muslim nations including Saudi’s Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran along with other various Muslim groups and people have condemned these attacks. However, some Muslim-majority countries have accused President Macron of Islamaphobia because of his response to these attacks. When asked about the retribution against Muslims in France, Jerome High school French teacher Stacy Sabotka said “I think tolerance is a lesson the world needs right now but more so in France and I think Macron better do something fast”.

     Amidst everything happening in France right now, they have also just entered a second lockdown estimated to last until the end of November.