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Cultural conflict led to terrorist attack in Paris

By Zhu Sumei | China Daily | Updated: 2015-01-10 08:24

Three hooded gunmen shot dead 12 people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a Paris-based satirical magazine, on Wednesday in the deadliest attack in France in more than half a century, which French President Francois Hollande has called "an act of exceptional barbarism". Hollande also declared a national day of mourning on Thursday, not least because the audacious attack claimed the lives of the Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) editor and three of France's finest cartoonists.

Fears had been rising in France and other European countries that jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria would orchestrate more attacks in their countries of origin. A direct contributing factor to the tragic attack in Paris is believed to be the repeated publication of cartoons making fun of Islam by European magazines. Jihadists had warned Charlie Hebdo through the Internet many times to stop publishing cartoons ridiculing Prophet Muhammad. But the magazine continued to ignore the warnings and threats. Last year, its Twitter account satirized Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, prompting sporadic attacks in France.

The global propaganda campaign launched by the IS, which controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria, too acted as instigation for the attack in Paris. Unlike al-Qaida and other "traditional terrorist groups", the IS is irksomely skilled at attracting youngsters from across the globe to join the "jihad" (holy war), because its members are adept at using social network tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

Cultural conflict led to terrorist attack in Paris

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