The Paris Murders & the Islamophobic Backlash

The Paris Murders & the Islamophobic Backlash

JVPŠ__s Network Against Islamophobia mourns the lives of those killed in the murderous attacks in Paris this week at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and in the kosher supermarket. We also stand in strong opposition to increasing Islamophobia and racism in response to these murdersŠ_”the vilifying of Muslims and attributing to all Muslims the acts of a few who claim to speak in the name of Islam.  French Muslims especially are bearing the brunt of the current backlash.

Muslims are at greatly heightened risk from the forces of bigotry. This latest backlash occurs in the context of pervasive, systemic, and long-standing anti-Islam bigotry in many countries around the world.  In Germany, for example, even before the Paris shootings, mobs shouting anti-Muslim slogans marched through the streets.  In the United States, an anti-Muslim, right-wing network of media outlets, politicians, and professional Islamophobes has predictably seized on the murders as fuel for its continued hate-filled speech and actions.

Already, in the United States, France, and Israel, the murders are being used cynically to advance the idea that there is a Š__war of civilizationsŠ__ between the West and Islam.  This narrative reinforces an Islamophobic  view of all Muslims as Š__terroristsŠ__ or Š__terrorist-sympathizersŠ__ that, in the United States and elsewhere, is used to justify and buttress ongoing state surveillance of, and violence against, the Muslim community and other violations of human and civil rights.

The support for free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre has too easily translated into support for the content of the speech and the perpetuation of Islamophobia. Some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, as Glenn Greenwald so aptly points out, Š__went far beyond maligning violence by extremists acting in the name of Islam, or even merely depicting Mohammed with degrading imagery . . . , and instead contained a stream of mockery toward Muslims generally, who in France are largely a marginalized and targeted immigrant population.Š__

As we deplore all of the murders in Paris, at the same time, we must continue to speak out about the ongoing, brutal violence against peoples struggling for their dignity and rights across the globe. With Western leaders arriving at the Paris march to demonstrate their opposition to terrorism, it is important to remember that some of these world leaders have been, and continue to be, responsible for state terrorism and countless civilian deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza, among many other places.

As an organization firmly committed to standing against all forms of racism, imperialism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism, we pledge continued solidarity with Muslim communities and find it more urgent than ever to commit ourselves to challenging Islamophobia and all forms of racism in its many forms and manifestations.

~Network Against Islamophobia, a project of Jewish Voice for Peace
Contact: nai@jewishvoiceforpeace.org

A Few of the Many Resources
Asghar Bukhari, Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing to Do with Free Speech – It Was about War
Teju Cole, Unmournable Bodies
Max Fisher, This Map Shows Every Attack on French Muslims since Charlie Hebdo
Glenn Greenwald, In Solidarity with a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons
Richard Seymour, On Charlie Hebdo

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