Charlie Hebdo underlined the risk from fanatical Islam

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

A year has passed since the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in France.

The massacre took place at the beginning of 2015 but more horror was to follow at the end of the year with the second atrocity in Paris.

Both attacks were carried out by Islamic terrorists so deranged that they have managed to bring about rare unity in the United Nations Security Council against them.

The onslaught in Paris was met with sympathy around the world and defiance in the West, where the values of democracy and free speech are now the subject of calculated attack.

But some people in countries such as Britain still fail to grasp the nature of the fanatical Muslim threat. The Jeremy Corbyn approach is to imply that we are to blame for being so hated by our enemies (even the Labour leader has shied away from using such words). Mr Corbyn was unable to say without equivocation he would support a shoot-to-kill police response in a Bataclan-theatre situation where terrorists were picking off concertgoers one by one. His hesitancy would not reassure anyone planning a night out in a London theatre.

But a wider group of well-meaning people still cannot see that describing this as a specific Islamic threat is not inconsistent with recognising that most global Muslims reject jihad.

When Pastor McConnell was acquitted the PPS said it had taken the case “because of his characterisation of all Muslims as potential terrorists by virtue of his faith”. It is an interpretation of what he said that adds a word, “all,” he did not use.

But in February BBC Radio Four Today found that 27 per cent of UK Muslims had some sympathy for the motives in the Charlie Hebdo outrage. The man who reported the pastor, Dr Raied Al-Wazzan, praised the ‘peace’ brought about in Mosul by Isis mass murderers (the Paris perpetrators). There is clearly minority but widespread Muslim ambivalence in the British Isles about such terror. The UK must openly discuss this. And the authorities should not in such circumstances waste time hounding harmless Christian pastors.