“The strongest condemnation for the horrific attack that marred the city of Paris”, “sowing death, throwing into dismay the whole of French society, deeply disturbing all peace-loving people”, well beyond the borders of France. These were the first words of Pope Francis, on January 7, upon the news of the attack on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which caused 12 deaths and many wounded. The news went around the world in seconds. “Pope Francis prays for the wounded and the families of the deceased”, and “calls upon all to oppose by all means the spread of hatred and of all forms of violence, physical and moral, which destroy human life, which violate the dignity of people, which radically undermine the fundamental good of peaceful coexistence between individuals and peoples regardless of their differences of nationality, religion and culture”, the statement read. The words of Bergoglio. On the same day the Pope met a delegation of French Imams (on the agenda for quite some time), and the next day he met the Archbishop of Paris Card. André Vingt-Trois. On these occasions Bergoglio expressed his closeness to the French people and reiterated all religions’ role for peace. “Whatever may be the motivation” of the attack of Wednesday morning, which French authorities are currently investigating, “homicidal violence is abominable”, continues the note released by the Holy See. “The life and dignity of all are to be guaranteed and protected with decision. Every incitement to hatred should be refuted. Respect must be cultivated”. “The Pope expresses his closeness, his spiritual solidarity and support for all those who, according to their different responsibilities, continue their efforts for peace, justice and the rule of law, to heal the deep sources and the causes of hatred, in this painful and tragic moment, in France and in the rest of the world”. Unprecedented violence. The news reports. The attackers stopped at nothing and shot in cold blood, without mercy, without second thoughts. Paris has fallen in the darkest shadows of Islamic terrorism, as unfortunately had long been feared and as it happened, despite the precautions. A harsh attack by three men against the offices of the satirical newspaper “Charlie Hebdo”: gunmen dressed in black, hooded, armed with Kalashnikovs. What happened was unimaginable. The attack, the cries “Allah akbar.” The editors were called by name and killed. They were gunned down even while they lay on the ground crying for mercy. Among the victims, the editor of the weekly, Stephan Charbonnier, called Charb, and the three most important cartoonists: Cabu, Tignous and Georges Wolinski. It is the most severe attack in the recent history of France. Strengthening national unity. French president François Hollande rushed to the site of the attack around noon and called an urgent meeting at the Elysee, while the whole area of the Île-de-France was put under “attack alert”. Hollande immediately spoke of a “terrorist attack”. He then added: “We have to react firmly, but with a spirit of national unity. We need to be compact, show that we are united. We are at a difficult time: many attacks were thwarted. We knew we were under threat because we are a free country. The killers will be brought to justice”. Solidarity to France was expressed from all over Europe, with harsh words of condemnation on the attack and strong feelings of closeness to France from every capital: from Berlin to London, from Warsaw to Rome, from Moscow to Madrid. Among others, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he was “deeply shocked at the brutal and inhumane attack”. “This is an intolerable and barbaric act which concerns us all as human beings and Europeans”. From Brussels, the president of the European Commission Martin Schulz, said: “We are deeply shocked by this deadly crime, by this blow against our civil societies. We firmly condemn such violence”. “Europeans will never give up the values of freedom of expression and of the press, tolerance and mutual respect that such an attack intended to question”. The issue of security and the fight against terrorism has been tabled for debate during the meeting of EU foreign ministers of 19 January. The voice of Muslims. Before the horror the voice of the Muslim communities was heard across different European countries. The French Council of the Muslim Faith was the first to condemn the mayhem and “with strong determination, the terrorist attack committed with unprecedented violence against Charlie Hebdo”. “This barbaric act is of extreme gravity – said CFCM chairman, Dalil Boubakeur – is it also an attack on democracy and freedom of the press”. “In an international context where political tensions are fuelled by the delusion of terrorist groups that unfairly exploit Islam, we call upon all those who are committed to the values of the Republic and democracy, to avoid provocations that only serve to fuel the fire. Faced with this tragedy nationwide, we call on the Muslim community to exercise utmost vigilance against possible manipulations by groups with extremist views, whoever they are”.
Solidarity to France struck by terrorist violence in the attack on the offices of the magazine "Charlie Hebdo". The closeness of the Pope