Paris Suspect Mentioned Assault Was Aimed at Paper That Mocked Islam’s Prophet


PARIS — The suspect in the stabbing of two people today outdoors the former Paris workplace of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has confessed and mentioned his assault was directed at the publication simply because it printed cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a French judicial official mentioned on Saturday.

Charlie Hebdo’s former workplace was the target of a January 2015 terrorist assault that killed twelve people today immediately after the weekly initially published the cartoons. It republished them in early September on the opening day of the trial of 14 people today suspected of getting backlinks to the 2015 assault.

The stabbing took spot for the duration of the prolonged-awaited trial of alleged accomplices in the 2015 assault, which has forced France to relive the trauma of a series of terrorist strikes in the previous number of many years.

French authorities have mentioned that the suspect, who was arrested shortly immediately after the assault on Friday, is an 18-yr-outdated Pakistani guy who arrived in France 3 many years in the past as an unaccompanied small. While he was briefly arrested a month in the past for carrying a screwdriver, he had not been previously recognized as an Islamist radical, France’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, informed France two tv on Friday.

The judicial official, who insisted on anonymity simply because French authorities have not but publicly confirmed the suspect’s statement, mentioned the guy had explained his motives for the assault, which took spot upcoming to a mural paying out tribute to the victims of the 2015 killings.

French media broadly reported on Saturday that the suspect had confessed and linked the assault to Charlie Hebdo. But the government has not produced any public statement but on what motivated him, no matter if he acted in direct retaliation to the republication of the caricatures, or no matter if he acted alone or had ties to a terrorist network.

The republication of the caricatures stoked the ire of some Muslims all over the globe, specially in Pakistan, exactly where demonstrators rallied to condemn Charlie Hebdo. And Al Qaeda responded by calling on people today to strike the newspaper.

The assault comes at a politically delicate time in France as politicians, with an eye towards presidential elections in 2022, are currently attempting to compete on troubles connected to crime, immigration and Islam. President Emmanuel Macron is anticipated to unveil a policy to fight “separatism,’’ focusing on radical Islam, in the upcoming number of months.

The suspect’s standing as an immigrant could even more fuel debates in France more than immigration, an challenge that has underpinned the rise of the far suitable politically. Mr. Macron’s most important rival in the earlier presidential election and his possible challenger in the upcoming 1, Marine Le Pen, quickly drew a website link involving the stabbing and what she has prolonged described as the county’s lax immigration policies.

Lots of could have averted getting to be victims, she tweeted, if France had “systematically expelled illegals” and “hunted down Islamism.’’

The stabbing adds to the traumas afflicting French society, and once again raises queries about competing values in a nation that, ethnically and religiously, has been transformed in latest decades.

On Friday, Charlie Hebdo tweeted, “This tragic episode displays us after once again that fanaticism, intolerance, the origins of which will be unveiled by the investigation, are nonetheless current in French society.”

But when Charlie Hebdo’s editors reprinted the drawings early this month, the determination was regarded by some as dedication to no cost speech but by some others as needless provocation.

Pictures of the Prophet Muhammad are proscribed in Islam, and insulting religion underneath some countries’ blasphemy laws can carry the death penalty.

Mr. Macron defended the magazine’s “right to blasphemy.’’ But some others — overseas but also in France itself — noticed the republication as a provocative act that leveled insults at Muslim people today.

In the day following the republication, a slogan displaying solidarity with the magazine, #IAmStillCharlie, trended on Twitter in France, but was challenged by the opposite, #IAmNotCharlie.

A research launched in early September by the Fondation Jean Jaurès, a Paris-primarily based investigation institute, discovered that 69 % of respondents who recognized as Muslim mentioned that the magazine had been incorrect to publish the caricatures back in 2006. By contrast, 59 % of respondents general supported the first publication.

Jean-Charles Brisard, director of the Paris-primarily based Center for the Evaluation of Terrorism, mentioned that threats towards Charlie Hebdo — which moved to really safe offices elsewhere immediately after the 2015 assault — had greater in latest months.

The interior minister, Mr. Darmanin, mentioned that the nature of the assault was “an Islamist terrorism modus operandi, naturally, there is minor doubt about that.”

He extra that the degree of danger in the street of Charlie Hebdo’s former offices had been “underestimated” in spite of the reality that authorities had not reported any precise threats.

French prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation and quite a few acquaintances of the most important suspect continue to be in custody — a conventional method immediately after this kind of an incident. No particulars have been disclosed as to their identities.

Two staff of Premières Lignes, a documentary manufacturing business situated close to Charlie Hebdo’s former offices, have been wounded in Friday’s assault.

Speaking to France two on Friday, Luc Hermann, a journalist and filmmaker at Premières Lignes, mentioned that the assailant initially struck the female in her encounter, then the guy, in advance of returning to stab the female once again.

Mr. Hermann mentioned that these have been “blows to destroy, blows to seriously induce severe discomfort, blows to the encounter, blows to the neck.”

French authorities are concerned about the evolution of terrorist threats on their soil, as they have evolved from organized attacks, this kind of as the November 2015 attacks in Paris, to isolated acts that can be challenging to avert.

“Threats currently are more and more challenging to determine and neutralize simply because we are confronted with threats that are very diffuse and protean,” Mr. Brisard mentioned, including that they come from people unknown to the authorities who may well reply to calls from terrorist organizations.

In March 2018, a gunman killed 4 people today in a supermarket in southern France, which includes a police officer, and two months later on an attacker stabbed 5 people today close to the Paris Opera, 1 fatally. In October 2019, a veteran police worker killed 4 of his colleagues in a knife assault at the headquarters of the Paris police, in what the authorities later on named a terrorist assault.

Aurelien Breeden contributed studying


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