World expresses shock at attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper

AP News
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Posted: Jan 07, 2015 2:03 PM
World expresses shock at attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper

World leaders, journalists' groups and others around the world have expressed horror at the deadly attack Wednesday by gunmen on the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Here are some of their reactions:

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"I don't understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war." — Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gerard Biard to France Inter radio.

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"This is an act of exceptional barbarism." — French President Francois Hollande.

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"The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press." — President Barack Obama.

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"Regardless of the motive, homicidal violence is abominable and never justified. Life and human dignity must be guaranteed with decisiveness, and every instigation of hatred refuted and respect cultivated." — Pope Francis, according to the Vatican spokesman.

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"We condemn ... this hateful, criminal act. ... While the terrorists are intensifying their acts to exacerbate the confrontation inside our country, both Muslim and Christians have to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue, to make a united front against extremism." — Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques.

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"We decisively condemn this cynical crime. We reaffirm our readiness to continue active cooperation in combating the threat of terrorism." — Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a telegram of condolence to Hollande.

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"This horrific attack was meant to divide. We must not fall into that trap. This is a moment for solidarity around the world." — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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"This is a brazen assault on free expression in the heart of Europe." — Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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"This will create fear among people on a whole different level than we're used to. Charlie Hebdo was a small oasis. Not many dared do what they did."— Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who lives under police protection after drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

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"I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. 'Respect for religion' has become a code phrase meaning 'fear of religion.' Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect." — Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his novel "The Satanic Verses" drew a death edict from Iran's religious authorities.

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"This abhorrent act is not just an attack on the life of French citizens and the internal security of France. It also represents an attack on freedom of opinion and of the press, a core element of our free and democratic culture." — German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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"This House and this country stand united with the French people in our opposition to all forms of terrorism and we stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never be able to take us off those values." — British Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons.

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"Egypt stands by France in confronting terrorism, an international phenomenon that targets the world's security and stability and which requires coordinated international efforts to eradicate." — Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

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"This is a dark day for freedom of expression and a vibrant press culture. But above all, it is an appalling human tragedy." — Stephan Oberreit, director of Amnesty International France.

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"I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those killed — the cartoonists, journalists and those who were trying to protect them. They paid a very high price for exercising their comic liberty. Very little seems funny today." — Ian Hislop, editor of British satirical newspaper Private Eye.

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"Charlie Hebdo was among the magazines that showed the most solidarity with Jyllands-Posten when the Muhammad crisis was at its peak. We haven't forgotten that. Here at Jyllands-Posten we feel strongly for our colleagues in Paris." — Editorial in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which faced numerous threats and foiled attacks after it published 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.

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"All NATO allies stand together in the fight against terrorism. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations can never be tolerated or justified." — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.