The shooting dead of at least 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday is a black day in France's history, and for freedom of expression.
While the identity of the attackers behind the horrific attack is as yet unknown, it appears likely from witness accounts that they are Islamist extremists, and it is essential that countries across the world urgently realize the necessity of working together to combat this growing threat.
Over recent months similar attacks – on a smaller scale – have occurred in Canada, Australia, Belgium and France, and come during a time of growing Islamist extremism in the Middle East also, with ISIS continuing along its bloody path of destruction in Iraq and Syria and Al-Qaeda splinter groups causing havoc not just in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali and Nigeria.
Amid the flow of foreign fighters from Europe to the battlefields of the Middle East, such terror attacks have been somewhat expected, especially after it emerged that the Jewish Museum shooter in Brussels had been fighting in Syria. But clearly the security measures taken thus far have been insufficient.
And although the perpetrators may believe they are carrying out such violence in the name of religion, they are committing criminal acts, which have no grounding in faith. Muslim scholars in France naturally condemned the attacks, as did Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
It is vital that security agencies in Europe and the wider world work together with the countries in the Middle East where these criminals are either receiving inspiration or direct training, for the latter know better than anyone what tragedies such individuals can inflict.
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