Bloomberg: Don’t Judge Immigrants by Charlie Hebdo Massacre; 9/11 Terrorists Were Just ‘Visitors’

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
AP Photo/Michael Sohn

From Bloomberg View:

The killing of several journalists — as well as two police officers, one of whom had been assigned to guard them — was a criminal act of terrorism, pure and simple. It should not be used to stoke hatred and prejudice against Muslims, or intolerance and fear about immigrants and immigration.

It isn’t yet known for certain whether the gunmen who attacked Charlie Hebdo were Islamist extremists, much less immigrants. In any case, it doesn’t matter: Even if France, whose population is about 7.5 percent Muslim (4 to 5 million people), were to block all immigration overnight, such attacks would be no more or less likely than they are now. Consider that the Sept. 11 attacks, the biggest terrorist assault on a non-Muslim country in history, were carried out not by immigrants, but by outsiders who entered the country as visitors.

Neither anti-immigration nativists nor Islamist terrorists are especially fond of the liberal culture that has dominated European politics and thought since the World War II. Now, however unwittingly, they may be joining forces against it.

It was at least symbolic that the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo was a newly published book, “Submission,” by the French author Michel Houellebecq. The novel’s plot imagines France in 2022 after the election of an Islamist government, which has excluded women from working and opened Islamic schools. The premise is ludicrous (even by 2030, Muslims are projected to make up only 10 percent of the population, and France is among the world’s most determinedly secular countries). But the book, like Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, cannot be used to justify today’s violence.

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