World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder reacted with shock to the massacre of at least 12 people in the Paris offices of the weekly satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ on Wednesday, which was reportedly carried out by Islamist terrorists identifying themselves as al-Qaeda members. Lauder condemned the attack as “a heinous act of terror aimed at the free press in France and beyond.” He urged the West to stand united against this menace and act strongly against all those who spread hatred and intolerance in our societies.
In 2011, Charlie Hebdo published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and its offices were firebombed and have since been under police surveillance.
“Three years after the massacre at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and eight months after the deadly attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, were are faced with yet another brutal Islamist terror attack in Western Europe. This time, the target was the media, but it affects all of us. We must not be intimidated by their campaign and must uphold and defend our Western values, including that of freedom of expression,” Lauder declared.
Roger Cukierman, president of the French Jewish umbrella body CRIF and a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, also strongly condemned the terrorist attack. “Today, France is in shock. We mourn the victims of this despicable crime and send our condolences to their families.
“This attack requires a strong and determined response not just by France, but by the European Union as a whole. There are people – a small minority, but a dangerous one nonetheless - living in our midst who cannot stand openness, diversity, a pluralistic press and freedom of religious worship. Islamist terrorism is the main threat to our security and well-being today, and it must be fought vigorously everywhere because it is a poison for our societies,” Cukierman said.