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After the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” — “I am Charlie” — became the unofficial slogan of solidarity with the shooting victims. #JeSuisCharlie trended on Twitter, and people held up signs featuring the phrase at rallies all over the world.

Je Suis Charlie’s message is an important one in the wake of this horrifying crime. But now a new hashtag campaign, #JeSuisAhmed, has arisen to augment it. Its message of tolerance deserves — perhaps needs — to be heard as well.

#JeSuisAhmed honors Ahmed Merabet, the French police officer who was murdered outside the Charlie Hebdo offices by the same gunmen who went on to murder the magazine’s staffers. Merabet, in addition to being a police officer, is believed to have been part of France’s large Muslim community.

Twitter users have rallied to the hashtag to argue that Merabet, like the murdered journalists, should be honored as a defender of free speech — particularly because he died trying to protect a publication that had mocked and derided his own religion.

#JeSuisAhmed does not dispute the sentiment of Je Suis Charlie. Rather, it adds to it, by calling attention to the importance of tolerance as well as solidarity. That is important in its own right, but it’s also an elegant response to those who might respond to the attack with broad hostility towards Islam, or suspicion of Muslims as a group…

The hashtag was also a reminder that the victims of Islamist terrorists are primarily Muslim

In an update, VOX notes that candyass [my word] sources like the NY TIMES say Merabet’s religion is unconfirmed. While the British press reports that his family says he was Muslim and will be buried in a Muslim cemetery.

Close enough for folk music, folks.

2 thoughts on “#JeSuisAhmed

  1. martynwilson says:

    Sorry, but that VOX piece is typical of the gobsh!te that they publish week-in and week-out. All very right-on, but with no editorialising, no voice of their own and – most importantly – no right of reply.

    For example, the paragraph that they publish about Dalia Mogahed’s Facecrap post “JeSuisDalia”, highlighting “the prejudice inherent in the demand that Muslims like her denounce or reject the Charlie Hebdo murders”: nowhere do they point out that Ms Mogahed fails to “like her denounce or reject the Charlie Hebdo murders” as a human being. It’s disgusting that she seeks to use the Charlie Hebdo murders – and that of Ahmed Merabet – in support of her unpleasant argument.

  2. moss says:

    Why so upset, Martyn? “no right of reply”? Did no one else on the Web address the topic?

    Cripes, ending what often is a guaranteed heap of anarchist, racist or otherwise useless dung being tacked on below a post, a number of sites have discontinued comments – including Reuters. The most humorous response being one of my faves who editorialized against Reuters doing this – while making the same decision himself.

    Yes, there’s a difference between a “news” site and a personal blog – but, the nice thing about the Web is that the number of sites feels endless.

    I like Barry Ritholtz’s style – he still allows comments at The Big Picture; but, prefaces them with “Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.”

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