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

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

Related JVP Posts

LIMITED TIME: jvp sanctuary-themed mezuzah

Get a sanctuary mezuzah when you become a JVP member today. We’ll make an organizational gift to Mijente, a national hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing, in honor of our March Membership Drive and the fight for immigrant rights.

bds movement NOMINATED FOR nobel prize

Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!


We need your help to fund this truck billboard. Donate to display this powerful message in front of every Congressional office building during AIPAC’s conference.


Israel systematically prosecutes as many as 700 children in military courts each year. Email your Rep to support Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391.


Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was taken in the dead of night by Israeli soldiers. She was arrested after a video that her mother, Nariman, took went viral, showing an altercation with soldiers trying to enter their house. The Tamimis are well-known in their village of Nabih Saleh for their weekly nonviolent protests against Israeli occupation and apartheid.

End the Deadly Exchange

When US law enforcement trade tactics with the Israeli police and military, Israel deepens its military occupation and the US heightens its violence of policing.

No Business in Illegal Settlements

A United Nations preliminary report details businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements. Now we need you to tell Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Priceline to stop profiting from business in settlements.

Pledge to Fight Islamophobia

Across the U.S., we call for the Jewish community to stand strong against Islamophobia and racism.