German Newspaper Firebombed After Republishing Charlie Hebdo Images

The terrorism wave that began with the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices has not ended with the killing of the perpetrators. A follow-on attack has occurred in Germany and there are reports of "sleeper cells" being activated in France.

The terrorism wave that began with the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices has not ended with the killing of the perpetrators. A follow-on attack has occurred in Germany and there are reports of “sleeper cells” being activated in France.

AFP (“Firebombing at German paper that ran Charlie Hebdo cartoons“):

A German tabloid that reprinted cartoons from the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo lampooning the Prophet Mohammed was targeted in firebombing Sunday, police said.

With security services on high alert after a killing spree in Paris by Islamic extremists, police in the northern German port city of Hamburg said no one was injured in the blaze at the headquarters of the regional daily Hamburger Morgenpost, which caused only slight damage.

“Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window,” a police spokesman told AFP.

“Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.”

The Hamburger Morgenpost, known locally as the MOPO, had splashed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the massacre at the Paris publication, running the headline “This much freedom must be possible!”

CNN (“Source: Terror cells activated in France“):

French law enforcement officers have been told to erase their social media presence and to carry their weapons at all times because terror sleeper cells have been activated over the last 24 hours in the country, a French police source who attended a briefing Saturday told CNN terror analyst Samuel Laurent.

Amedy Coulibaly, a suspect killed Friday during a deadly kosher market hostage siege, had made several phone calls about targeting police officers in France, according to the source.

[…]

France will remain at a heightened security as investigations continue, Cazeneuve said after an emergency security meeting.

All necessary measures will also be taken to ensure the safety of people who attend a massive unity rally planned in Paris on Sunday, he said. Extra steps will also be taken to protect religious institutions.

Cazeneuve and other officials outlined the extraordinary security measures, including snipers, plainclothes and anti-terror officers as well as parking and transit restrictions, that will be in place for the rally.

[…]

Altogether, nearly 1,900 French troops will take part in providing additional security across the country as part of the France’s security alert system, known as Vigipirate.

The precautions may help to ease the nerves of a country left on edge by the wave of violence.

The targeting of the kosher grocery store has shaken Jewish communities in particular. And amid the heightened security concerns, the Grande Synagogue of Paris was closed Saturday for the first time since World War II.

Aside from the fact that these attacks are already working in the narrow sense of inciting fear and panic, the bigger danger is that they’ll have the ultimate effect of generating a massive backlash against European Muslims and thereby strengthen the cause of the extremists. Westerners won’t long put up with these assaults on their basic freedoms and there’s an easy “them” to blame and lash out against. Meanwhile, it’s next to impossible to defeat the amorphous “terrorism” enemy.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    the bigger danger is that they’ll have the ultimate effect of generating a massive backlash against European Muslims

    There’s a bigger danger than mass murder?

    I think that “additional danger” or something to that effect would be a better choice of words.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: Fair point. My concern is that something that is ultimately a tragic but comparatively minor harm to the public could become something much, much bigger through overreaction and/or exploitation of legitimate reactions.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    I don’t usually press these points but in this case I think I must. When you argue that political activity is a “bigger danger” than mass criminal homicide, the only way that makes any sense is if you’re assuming a slippery slope from political action to even more mass murder. For a slippery slope argument not to be a fallacy there must actually be a slippery slope. Would “overreaction and/or exploration of legitimate reactions” necessarily lead to mass murder?

  4. Pinky says:

    Muslim extremists are slaughtering people in the Paris / Egypt / New York / India / Malaysia / Nigeria part of the world, but the bigger danger is that it might spread? or that we might notice? or…what?

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Funny how, every time Muslim radicals commit yet another atrocity, the first concern pushed is “there might be a backlash against other Muslims.” And yet, despite all the atrocities that keep happening, these backlashes never seem to happen.

    Even in the US, right after 9/11, the percentage of religiously-inspired hate crimes didn’t change much. The most common motive is anti-Semitic; anti-Muslim is way down the list.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Just to clarify my views, my preference would be for the countries of Europe to embrace their Muslim populations more closely than they have. However, I think that’s a political decision that is up to the citizens of those countries. It’s up to them to decide what sort of country they wish to be rather than Americans like me.

  7. jewelbomb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Funny how, every time Muslim radicals commit yet another atrocity, the first concern pushed is “there might be a backlash against other Muslims.”

    It’s not funny nor is it true. Please provide a shred of evidence that an anti-Muslim backlash is anyone’s “first concern” when a terrorist event occurs. You can’t, because it isn’t.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    When you argue that political activity is a “bigger danger” than mass criminal homicide, the only way that makes any sense is if you’re assuming a slippery slope from political action to even more mass murder. For a slippery slope argument not to be a fallacy there must actually be a slippery slope. Would “overreaction and/or exploration of legitimate reactions” necessarily lead to mass murder?

    First, yes, my fear is that. In effect, the self-deluded “jihad” of a handful of lunatics turn into an actual jihad–a broader war between Islam and Christendom.

    Second, I’m arguing that this would be a bigger danger than “inciting fear and panic,” not the murders themselves. That is, I’m assessing the fallout of the attacks, not the attacks themselves; they’re already in the past.

  9. Pinky says:

    You know who’s in a backlash against Muslims? Other Muslims. Muslims kill some Christians, Jews, and secularists, but they kill other Muslims constantly. This is like that black-on-black violence stat (and I guess I have to bring that up to make sure I get even more downvotes). If you’re worried about people, think about how to stop the ones who are killing them, even if those are their own.

    If there was a broader war between Christians and Muslims, what would it look like? Would there be bombings and beheadings and armies fighting each other? How would that look different than what we see today? The average Muslim wouldn’t even notice if there were a broader war, because (a) there are no Christian armies in the world any more, and (b) the people who are raping their kids burning down their villages are their fellow religionists.

  10. Pinky says:

    @jewelbomb: Are you playing a rhetorical game with the word “first”? I think that most people’s first concern is whether their loved ones are in trouble, then how their hair looks, and then how this affects their commutes. It’s safe to say that within minutes of an attack, there are people talking about the dangers of backlash. Look up “I’ll ride with you”.

  11. anjin-san says:

    Interesting that conservatives are so alarmed about the Paris killings, but they seem to accept that scores of American children will die from gunshot wounds every year.

  12. jewelbomb says:

    @Pinky:

    Are you playing a rhetorical game with the word “first”?Are you playing a rhetorical game with the word “first”?

    Apparently taking a word to mean what it actually means is a rhetorical game to you. Sorry, but I’m not familiar with another way to communicate on a comments forum other than reading the words people type and then making sense out of them by parsing what they actually mean. Perhaps you’ve found a better way and can enlighten me.

    Regardless, Jenos’ comment made it seem as though an anti-Muslim blacklash was commonly everyone’s paramount concern when an act of terrorism occurred. Sorry, but that’s simply not true. Of course, I’m aware of the “I’ll Ride With You” campaign, but the mere existence of a movement designed to raise awareness that not all Muslims deserve to be feared or vilified due to the actions of extremists is hardly evidence that it was anyone’s first (or most urgent) concern.

  13. wr says:

    Maybe if we’re concerned about inciting retaliation we shouldn’t use — pardon the expression — incendiary headlines like “newspaper firebombed.” This isn’t the Dresden air campaign, this is, from the report you cited, some assh@le throwing a molotov cocktail through a window along with a bunch of rocks.

    There are a lot of terrible people in the world. Some of them set of bombs at NAACP headquarters in Colorado, and people like those running this site ignore them completely. Then you have this creep, and he’s “firebombing” the press.

    Maybe a little perspective would be good — unless you’re one of those people like Jenos whose greatest pleasure in life is to dream of people he doesn’t know who look like him killing other people he doesn’t know who don’t look like him.

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    @wr:

    AFP, as cited above, reports the incident as “firebombing”. The word being used in the German language press seems to be Brandanschlag. Literally, that’s “fire attack” although a better translation into English would be “arson attack”. That seems to be a fair description of what happened.
    .

  15. Grewgills says:

    the bigger danger is that they’ll have the ultimate effect of generating a massive backlash against European Muslims

    That is already happening.

  16. Grewgills says:

    Hey, did you know that according to the UN, Christian militia in Central African Republic have carried out ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population during the country’s ongoing civil war? And yet I hear nothing from the so-called “good” and “moderate” Christians around me on the matter! Why have the “moderate” Christians not denounced these horrible people and rooted them out from their religion? Is it because maybe the so-called “moderate” Christians are actually all for the brutal slaughter? Christians say their religion is one of peace! And yet! Jesus himself says (Matthew 10:36) that he does not come to bring peace, but the sword! Clearly Christianity is a horrible, brutal murdering religion. And unless every single Christian in the United States denounces these murders in the Central African Republic and apologizes for them, not just to me but to every single Muslim they might ever meet, I see no reason to believe that every Christian I meet isn’t in fact secretly planning to cut the throat of every single non-Christian out there. That’s what goes on in those “churches” of theirs, you know. Secret murder planning sessions, every Sunday! Where they “symbolically” eat human flesh!

    Stolen from Scalzi (with permission) and apropos for all of those calling for moderate muslims to condemn these attacks.

  17. Franklin says:

    @Dave Schuler: Thanks. I was going to say something approximately what wr said, but your reply satisfies me.

  18. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    One aspect not touched upon was that the second hostage-taking was in a Kosher supermarket. The instant go-to move was to go after the Jews. There’s a lot of anti-Semitism in France right now, and a lot of Jews are moving out or thinking about it. Israel has already said that the victims in the supermarket will be buried in Israel.

    There are also three Muslims whose actions in the past week or so have been woefully unreported, especially here.

    1) Ahmed Merabet was one of the first on the scene of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. He was a Paris police officer, and was one of the first killed by the Islamist terrorists.

    2) Lassana Bathily is a Muslim employee of the kosher supermarket. Yes, a Muslim (from Mali) was working for the Jews. When the terrorist rushed in, he shoved about 15 customers into the freezer, turned out the lights and power in there, then went to face the terrorist himself. He is credited with saving those lives.

    3) President Al-Sisi of Egypt gave a speech to Muslim clerics and scholars essentially calling for a Muslim reformation and rejection of radical Islam. Considering his own experiences with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and other groups, he’s both taking a big risk and arguing for his own survival.

    These three Muslims need to be singled out and lauded for their actions. They put a hell of a lot of a better face on the faith than… well, pretty much anyone else lately.

    Yes, there may be a backlash against Muslims after one of these attacks. But going from historical precedent, more pressing concerns would be 1) more radical Islamist attacks and 2) a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

  19. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You want to honor Ahmed Merabet? Good for you. Start by listening to what his brother has to say. He was speaking to you.

    The family of one of the police officers murdered in Wednesday’s assault by Islamist extremists on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris has appealed to the public not to blame all Muslims for the attack.

    Ahmed Merabet, himself a Muslim, was one of the 17 victims of a three-day Islamist killing spree that has shaken France to the core.

    He was killed by Chérif and Saïd Kouachi as they escaped from the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine after having mowed down 11 people inside.

    Graphic amateur video of Merabet’s death circulated widely online following Wednesday’s attack, with many media showing edited versions.

    “I am now telling all racists, Islamophobes and anti-Semites that one must not confuse extremists with Muslims,” his brother, Malek Merabet, said at an emotional press conference Saturday in Livry-Gargan (Seine-Saint-Denis). “Stop mixing things up, starting wars, burning mosques and synagogues.”

    http://www.france24.com/en/20150110-family-slain-policeman-warns-confusing-extremists-muslims-charlie-hebdo-ahmed-merabet/?aef_campaign_date=2015-01-10&aef_campaign_ref=partage_user&ns_campaign=reseaux_sociaux&ns_linkname=editorial&ns_mchannel=social&ns_source=FB

  20. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Yes, there may be a backlash against Muslims after one of these attacks.

    There have already been over a dozen attacks on muslims since the CH shooting. This has been very poorly reported. I linked to it above, but here it is again. http://www.vox.com/2015/1/10/7524731/french-muslims-attacks-charlie-hebdo

    Ahmed Merabet and Lassana Bathily are indeed worthy of praise, a military tyrant looking to preserve his own ill gotten job, not so much.

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You really are a worthless, condescending tw…. git, aren’t you?

    No one else brings up three Muslims who have taken courageous stands against the extremists in the last few days, but you want to make certain I’ve read what I have written.

    These are the Muslims who need to be singled out and honored and praised and supported. Toss in others like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who understands better than nearly anyone just what fundamentalist Islam means for women.

    But let’s look at Al-Sisi. The authors here have only written about him in a very disapproving fashion, because he had the nerve to stand up to the Muslim Brotherhood and their radical extremism. His latest speech — which should have garnered international attention — has been black-holed.

    And that speech alone makes him more qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize than President-Elect Obama was.

  22. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No one else brings up three Muslims who have taken courageous stands against the extremists in the last few days, but you want to make certain I’ve read what I have written.

    Do you want a cookie because you have found three Muslims that you approve of out of the 1.6 billion that we share this planet with? Sorry Skippy, no sale. The countless comments you have made attacking Muslims exposed you for what you are long ago.

  23. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m curious, can you bumble your way through even a single comment without name calling?

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I’m curious, can you bumble your way through even a single comment without name calling?

    Sorry, I’m in the hospital with the possibility of major surgery pending, so I might be slightly off my game. But in your case… since you never say anything of any real substance, “name-calling” is about all you’re worth.

    And yeah, I found three Muslims worth praising, and cited them by name. You? Standard empty-calorie citation of nameless, faces of the masses.

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Dave Schuler: I think one can make an excellent case that the United States massively overreacted to 9/11 by invading Iraq. And by so doing pretty much blew up the Middle East, producing ISIS and a higher level of smaller attacks like Hebdo and kosher market. Fears of slippery slopes are well founded.

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @gVOR08: I think one can make an excellent case that the United States massively overreacted to 9/11 by invading Iraq.

    No, you can’t. Because if you actually go and read the AUMF, it explicitly says that there was no direct link between 9/11 and invading Iraq. There were some tangential connections, but absolutely nothing direct.

    But if you limit yourself to the fever dreams of the left, then you might have a chance, because over there that’s the gospel truth.

    Go and see for yourself — the 9/11 AUMF was Public Law 107-40, and the AUMF for Iraq was Public Law 107-243. That they have different numbers is a good indicator that they are not the same thing.

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    BTW, the next issue of Charlie Hebdo shows they aren’t backing down.

    For those who won’t click on a link and see for themselves: it’s a tearful Mohammed holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign, under a banner saying “Tout Est Pardonne” — “I Am Charlie” and “All is Forgiven,” respectively.

    FANTASTIC image.

  28. bill says:

    wow, this was even worse than the bombing of the naacp in colorado. but even a few firecrackers would have been too, whatever happened to that story anyways? i mean, after that dolt stole pix from a french episode to pour gas on the fire?
    but who cares, it’s just oppressed peoples acting badly in their host country.

  29. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “And yeah, I found three Muslims worth praising, and cited them by name. You? Standard empty-calorie citation of nameless, faces of the masses.”

    In Jenos-land, praising three Muslims by name — one of them a military dictator — while generally calling for the genocide of hundreds of millions is morally superior to opposing that genocide.

    But political disputes aside, if you do need surgery, I hope it goes easily and succesfully, and solves whatever problems you are having. If it is also life-changing enough that it makes you realize there are better things in life than living to annoy random strangers and inspires you to give up trolling, that will be a side benefit for everyone. But either way, best wishes for your procedure.

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Take your bogus sympathy and blow it out your fundament. If anything comes of this health scare, it’ll be my finally realizing that there are better uses for my time than dealing with someone so fundamentally stupid and dishonest as you and Cliffy — and dishonest as several of the other regulars.

    Case in point: where the hell are you getting this “calling for the genocide of hundreds of millions” bullcrap? The proper answer is “your own fever dreams,” but I’m sure you’ll come up with some fifth-generation iteration of something I might have said once (but more likely, something someone else said and you assigned to me in beliefs in not actual words) and you kept re-interpreting until it vaguely resembled something you wanted to hear.

    Al-Sisi is a military dictator? Agreed. But, as is all too typical for you, far too shallow. He took on a far more brutal dictatorship, and is actually taking real, serious steps towards fighting radical Islam. He’s fighting Hamas, he’s leaning hard on several of the Gulf states who support the radicals, and now he’s bearding the Islamist lions in their den by openly challenging the imams. Maybe you’re happier with the Muslim Brotherhood who were slaughtering Coptic Christians and brutally repressing all who weren’t suitably Islamist because ZOMG THEY WON AN ELECTION!!! (Which they won with the support of several other factions, whom they promptly turned upon and broke their promises to tolerance and moderation, but hey! — a win’s a win, right?)

    One final question: how the hell do you reconcile your hypocrisy? You talk about how not all Muslims aren’t dangerous radicals, and (it astonishes me to say this) you’re actually right. But when I bring up three very high-profile Muslims who put the truth to that statement in very public fashion in very recent times, you denigrate and dismiss them. I’d say that it was too shallow and stupid for you to do that just because I’m the one who brought them up by name, but “shallow and stupid” are pretty much your calling cards.

  31. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: What a lovely human being you must be. Nonetheless, best wishes on your medical procedures.

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Don’t get too depressed. I came close to dying, but I didn’t pull it off, but I’m not out of the woods yet. And the doctors are divided if swatting your idiocy around is a net good or bad for me. And I’m not so out of it that I’m falling for your feigned display of compassion.

    And let’s toss a few more brave Muslims’ names out there: Rotterdam’s Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and British Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. They’re saying what needs to be said, and I hope like hell they’ve got good security.

  33. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “And I’m not so out of it that I’m falling for your feigned display of compassion.”

    Fascinating how difficult it is for you to comprehend that a person is capable of disliking another human being and yet not wishing harm to come to him.

    No man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
    is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
    well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
    own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind.
    And therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: You might be right; my opinion of you might be premature. Cliffy’s a bit more likely to be openly sociopathic than you.

    You, on the other hand, will likely decide that I made up the whole “major health crisis” as a bid for sympathy and as an excuse for not making arguments you found adequate. For that, I’m giving you… maybe a week.

    But back to the topic at hand: we’re seeing really good signs that some prominent Muslims are taking very brave stands against the radicals. If only people like the authors and the regular commenters would recognize that as the unalloyed good thing it is…

  35. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “You, on the other hand, will likely decide that I made up the whole “major health crisis” as a bid for sympathy and as an excuse for not making arguments you found adequate. For that, I’m giving you… maybe a week.”

    Nope. So why don’t you stop whining about things that haven’t happened and never will happen. You’ve got real problems to deal with — why are you making up silly fantasies of how people will annoy you in the future?

    I had my own health crisis last year and it turned out, after it was all over, to be the best thing that had happened to me in many years. Not only made me change my life in a lot of valuable ways, but more importantly made me want to change my life. And every day since then has been better than the one before.

    I have no idea what your health issue is and am certainly not asking. Maybe it’s something that will end up diminishing you physically even after it’s dealt with, and if that’s the case that is terrible and I wish you good fortune getting through. But if it’s not, maybe it’s an opportunity. (I’m hoping you have decent health insurance as well, since that makes a huge difference.)

    So why not focus on what’s important — or even something that’s completely bullsh!t, but at least grounded in some kind of reality like the idiot question of whether Obama has cooties for not going to France — instead of inventing non-problems that are not going to happen.