Abdallah Zekri, head of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said that in a 48-hour period after the Wednesday massacre at Charlie Hebdo, 16 places of worship around France were attacked by firebombs, gunshots or pig heads — a major insult to Muslims who don’t eat pork, the National Post reported.
The three-day terror spree in Paris claimed the lives of 17 victims, and traumatized a continent already brimming with anti-immigrant sentiment. Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi — the al-Qaida-linked suspects in the magazine attack — were killed in a shootout at a printing plant north of Paris; their apparent accomplice Amedy Coulibaly was shot dead in a near-simultaneous raid at a Jewish market, where he had holed himself up with hostages, killing four.
French authorities are warning the nation against linking French Muslims with terrorists.
“The terrorists’ religion is not Islam, which they are betraying,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said last week. “It’s barbarity.”
Concerns about a backlash against Muslims were discussed Monday during a counter-terrorism meeting at the Interior Ministry. “We said above all, pretty unanimously, that in France there are 5 or 6 million Muslims. These (terrorist) issues concern 1,000 individuals,” said Socialist lawmaker Patrick Mennucci. “We should be careful not to stigmatize anyone.”
Coulibaly’s mother and daughters, presenting condolences to the victims, issued a plea in a statement delivered to the French press “that there will be no amalgam between these odious acts and the Muslim religion.”
Yet Muslims and some experts said that it was inevitable that Muslims would fall under suspicion after the attacks, despite a unity march on Sunday — described as the largest in French history — in which throngs of Muslims participated.