One of the worst terrorist attacks on French soil in recent memory was apparently the result of cartoons.
Twelve people were killed Wednesday when gunmen stormed a French satirical news magazine that has published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.France raised its terror threat level following the shooting at Charlie Hebdo in central Paris and stepped up security for media organizations, large stores and places of worship.
As of this moment, NBC News is reporting a death toll of 12 people, with the gunmen still at large.
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical publication known for courting controversy with criticisms of political and religious leaders. This includes cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which led terrorists to firebomb its offices in November 2011.
Jill Filipovic’s reaction on Twitter this morning rings true: “There are few things more pathetic than killing over a cartoon, and few responses more dangerous than ceding free speech to extremists.”
Update: President Obama this morning issued this statement about today’s attack in Paris:
“I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America’s oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”