There has been an arson attack on the offices of Hamburger Morgenpost, a German tabloid that re-ran the caricatures of Mohammed originally published in Charlie Hebdo:
Berlin (AFP) – A German tabloid that paid tribute to those killed at Charlie Hebdo by reprinting cartoons from the French satirical paper mocking the Prophet Mohammed was firebombed Sunday, police said.
With security services on high alert after a jihadist killing spree in Paris, police in the northern German port city of Hamburg said no one was at the headquarters of the regional daily Hamburger Morgenpost at the time of the attack, which caused only slight damage.
In France more than a million people have participated in demonstrations in solidarity with the French people and in tribute to the French cartoonists murdered in the terrorist attack earlier this week:
More than a million people have taken part in a unity march in Paris, after 17 people were killed during three days of deadly attacks in France’s capital.
The government has described it as the largest march in the country’s history.
More than 40 world leaders joined the start of the march, linking arms in an act of solidarity.
The marchers wanted to demonstrate unity after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket.
“Paris is the capital of the world today,” French leader Francois Hollande said.
Other solidarity marches took place in London, Madrid, Cairo, Montreal, Beirut, Sydney and Tokyo. For more news and opinions on the incidents described see memeorandum.
The word used in the AFP headline in English for the attack in Germany is “firebombing”. The German language press seems to be using the word Brandanschlag, literally “fire attack” although a better translation into English would be “arson attack”, which seems to be a fair description of what happened.
The editors of Bloomberg remark on European official reaction to the incidents, which largely consists of proposing better databases to monitor travel and stronger security apparatus:
What is the best way for authorities to deal with any of the thousands of people they find clamoring for blood in Internet chat rooms? And how does the answer to that question change as technology makes relatively simple plots easier to hatch and faster to execute?
Law enforcement can certainly get better (despite last week’s impressive operation, France’s security services have had their share of embarrassments lately). And new tools, such as a common database for air passengers entering and leaving the EU, may prove useful.
Yet Islamist terrorism is a menace that European nations, with their colonial histories and large Muslim populations, will be fighting for years if not decades to come. Defeating it is a task larger than any security service. The hatred that motivated this attack, and others like it, can only be defeated by society itself.
I have been asked what I think the West should do in response to the incidents. In preface I should mention that I object to the framing. I do not believe there is a “West” in any meaningful sense. Whom does it include? Western Europe, the British Commonwealth, Canada, the U. S., Japan, and Israel? More? Less? I think that the term was originally coined to distinguish between Greece on the one hand and the Persian Empire on the other and was resurrected at the turn of the last century to unite the United States with the older, presumably more sophisticated United Kingdom and Continental Western Europe. After World War I, it received new currency to tie the United States to Western Europe against Russia and its satellites. I think that distinction has largely lost its meaning and is no longer helpful to the United States.
However, I’ll divide my response into two questions. What should we (the United States) do? What should the countries of Europe do?
I don’t think we should do anything. France has its own distinct issues, quite different from ours. France is quite capable of dealing with its own problems and its citizens need to decide what response if any is appropriate.
What should the countries of Europe do? They really have only three alternatives. They can push their Muslim populations farther away possibly alienating and radicalizing them in the process, they can do nothing and determine that occasional mass murders by radical members of that population are an acceptable risk, or they can take affirmative steps to integrate their Muslim populations more closely into their societies.
I think it is up to the citizens of those countries to decide what kind of countries they wish to be. My preference would be that they accept their Muslim populations whether citizen or resident, not relegating them to second class status as is too frequently the case but that’s not a decision for me, an American, to make. They should do as they think best in the full knowledge that whatever they decide will have implications.