Hezbollah leader on Charlie Hebdo: ‘Extremists more offensive to Islam than cartoons’
Islamic extremists following a ‘takfiri’ ideology are more offensive to the Prophet Mohammed than Western satirical cartoons, chief of the Lebanese military faction Hezbollah, Hasan Nasrallah, said following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.
"The behavior of the takfiri groups that claim to follow Islam have distorted Islam, the Koran and the Muslim nation more than Islam’s enemies ... who insulted the prophet in films... or drew cartoons of the prophet," the Hezbollah leader said in a televised speech to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star.
Militant Islam practices a ‘takfiri’ doctrine that allows it to brand other Muslims apostates for allegedly going against the faith’s true teachings.
A tragic attack on Wednesday took the lives of 12 people, when armed gunmen stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, prompting a citywide manhunt. The magazine had printed cartoons that mocked the Prophet.
Nasrallah went on to say that “Takfiris are the biggest threat to Islam, as a religion [and] as a message.”
The Charlie Hebdo terror attack should be taken as “revenge for the honor” of Islam’s prophet, according to a source allegedly belonging to Yemen’s branch of Al-Qaeda, who wrote to several news outlets with the message.
The reaction to the attack was one of global outrage, both in the Christian and Muslim worlds. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sent his condolences to President Hollande, saying, “terrorism is an international phenomenon that should be faced and terminated through joint international effort.”
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke out against radical Islam, calling the incident “a murderous attack on free expression” and an indication “of the disdain of radical Islam for the values we hold dear.”
The Israeli PM drew parallels between the Paris massacre and rocket attacks on Israeli cities by the Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas.
Hamas released a statement in French on Saturday, in which it also condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack.
“Differences of opinion and thought cannot justify murder," the group said in a statement, cited by AFP.
Hamas also slammed Netanyahu for his “desperate attempts… to make a connection between our movement and the resistance of our people on the one hand and global terrorism on the other.”
Similar comments came from the Palestinian authority, who called the attack a “heinous crime.”
As for Lebanon’s own government, Prime Minister Tamman Salam has condemned Wednesday’s actions as an “unacceptable and unjustifiable terrorist act.”
The manhunt for the Charlie Hebdo terror attack suspects, Cherif and Said Kouachi, ended dramatically on Friday. Both were killed in a shootout with police in Dammartin-en-Goele northeast of Paris, while one policeman was injured. A worker who was taken hostage by the attackers was freed.
However, other hostage situations in France arose promptly, with at least one carried out by accomplices of the Kouachis.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday that he is not ruling out the possibility of more terrorist attacks against the country.