Charlie Hebdo Attack: Background Check

by Temple Anyasi

On January 7, 2015,  multiple employees at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper in Paris, France were attacked. “Je suis Charlie” became a common slogan as protesters all over the world brought awareness to this alarming incident. On January 14, 2015,  a division of the group Al-Qaeda posted a video claiming responsibility for the attack.

In Islamic tradition, most heavily in Sunni Islam, you cannot make a physical depiction of The Prophet Muhammad. Despite multiple complaints and death threats, Charlie Hebdo ignored the growing resentment.

Jessica Li‘18 says,” Although the attack was wrong, the newspaper went too far.” She seemed to believe that people should respect others’ beliefs.

The people found by the French government to be responsible for the attacks are Saïd and Chérif Kouachi.  According to, “…the brothers…burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine. They murdered 12 people – before themselves dying two days later, aged 34 and 32, in a storm of gendarmerie bullets near Charles de Gaulle airport.” also reported, “In 1994, following the death of their parents Said, then 14, and Cherif Kouachi, then 12, are understood to have been sent by Paris social services to live in care at the Centre des Monédières.” Many neighbors believe that the brothers’ mother committed suicide while pregnant (with her sixth child). On the other hand, the French police reported her death as ‘due to illness’.

After being informed about the two brothers’ background, Anis Azad’18 said, “This does not change my view.” When asked if the newspaper went too far he said,”Yes, insults are bad.”

Sara Donohue, an English teacher, comments, “I think it is wrong to actively pursue something you think is wrong, but the brothers’ background doesn’t make it okay.”

“Cartoons are cartoons,” replied another English teacher, Marie Manuto-Brown. “I don’t believe that they crossed the line.”

As a result of this tragedy, many wonder if these type of retaliation crimes will become common in France. The writers and cartoonists will have to come to a clear understanding on freedom of speech and the violation of the beliefs of others’ to avoid future disasters like the Charlie Hebdo attack.

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