A radical cleric known for his support of Shariah law and for championing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a series of tweets Wednesday defending a terrorist attack in Paris which left 12 dead, including 10 journalists and two cops.
At least two gunmen armed with AK-47s stormed the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine which had recently published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
But the mass murder is justified, according to Anjem Choudary, a London-based cleric who has been outspoken in his support for radical Islamic actions.
Choudary asserted on Twitter, using the hashtag #ParisShooting, that freedom of expression does not protect critiques of Muhammad.
Freedom of expression does not extend to insulting the Prophets of Allah, whatever your views on the events in Paris today! #ParisShooting
— Anjem Choudary (@anjemchoudary) January 7, 2015
At least four of the magazine’s cartoonists — including its two most famous, Charb and Cabu — were killed.
Charlie Hebdo had faced Islamic terrorists’ backlash in the past. In 2011, terrorists firebombed the magazine’s offices after it published cartoons satirizing Muhammad.
Following that attack, Stephane Charbonnier, the cartoonist known as Charb, famously said “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) January 7, 2015
Wednesday’s gunmen, wearing military-like gear, reportedly yelled throughout the massacre, including phrases such as “Allahu Akbar” and “we have avenged the prophet.”
The attack is reminiscent of others in Europe following the publication of materials deemed offensive by many Muslims.
In 2004, a Dutch-Moroccan man shot and stabbed filmmaker Theo van Gogh to death in Amsterdam. Van Gogh had recently filmed a movie titled “Submission” which focused on the lives of women under Islam.
In 2006, riots spread to various countries after Muslims became upset over the publication of controversial cartoons in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.
Kurt Westergaard, who drew the most contentious of the cartoons that appeared in the paper, faced an assassination attempt by an ax-wielding Somali man in 2010. He lives under constant police protection.