We had a great privilege to be invited to come to the vigil held outside of Calgary City Hall. We were able to stand together in solidarity for the victims of the terrorist Islamic attack in Paris, France.
Earlier Jan. 7, Muslim gunmen armed with automatic weapons attacked the offices of the satirical magazine. According to the Paris prosecutor, the victims included the magazine’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier and cartoonists Jean Cabut, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac. Two police officers were also killed.
Thousands turned out to vigils around the globe in solidarity with those killed, to prove that the world stands united against terrorist attacks.
During the vigil in Calgary we were able to lift the Canadian, French and Israeli flags in support for diversity and our ability to freely express our views and believes.
Charlie Hebdo raised the ire of some Islamic extremists by publishing caricatures of the prophet Muhammed. Its offices were firebombed in November 2011 and its editor, Stephane Charbonnier, has received numerous death threats, but the magazine has refused to shy away from satirizing any topic – or religious figure.
Freedom of press, freedom of association, freedom of religion are part of our values. We value our rights and freedoms.
The question now remains. Will people bow before these Islamists terrorists and give in to the culture of death and fear?
Did those very evil thugs accomplish their goal by scarring anybody that wants to speak the truth about the evil cult called Islam? I hope not!
Charbonnier, 47, who wrote under the name Charb, was the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo.
He was a staunch defender of the magazine’s cartoons depicting Muhammad. In 2011 their offices were destroyed by a firebomb after Charlie Hebdo proposed inviting the Prophet Muhammad to be a guest editor. In 2012, the magazine again courted controversy when it published caricatures of Muhammad.
“Mohammed isn’t sacred to me,” Charbonnier told the Associated Press in 2012. “I don’t blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don’t live under Quranic law.”
Charbonnier who was then in police protection said in an interview with Le Monde that he didn’t fear retaliation.
“I have no kids, no wife, no car, no credit. This may be a bit pompous what I’m saying, but I prefer to die standing than live on my knees,” he said.
French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s publisher, known only as Charb, presents to journalists, on September 19, 2012 in Paris, at the headquarters, the last issue which features on the front cover a satirical drawing titled ‘Intouchables 2′.
Roy Klassen, the honourary consul for France in Calgary called those killed “heroes.”
“It’s people who are very courageous to express their views,” he said.
MP Joan Crockatt attended Wednesday’s rally “It’s an act against us all and it’s an act against free speech,” she said.
Artur Pawlowski holding Canadian flag
Monty Peterson holding an Israeli flag
Larry Heather holding an Israeli flag