Nuance is not something you see every day on Twitter, so it’s moving and powerful to see that #JeSuisCharlie has given rise to #JeSuisAhmed, a hashtag that honors a Muslim cop who died while defending Charlie Hebdo during an apparent Islamic militant attack. The satirical French weekly was firebombed in 2011 by Islamic radicals, and police suspect the gunmen — heard shouting “God is Great” in Arabic — are similarly tied to extremism.
The New York Times reports that the attack is the deadliest in France since the Algerian war ended in the 1960s, and comes at a time when anti-immigration sentiment is high in Europe. Muslims in France, the Times reports, fear a backlash. And in fact, there have already been several attacks against mosques since Wednesday.
The hashtag reminds us that the gunmen do not represent all of Islam; that one Muslim man named Ahmed died defending an organization’s right to free speech — even when it had a history of mocking his own religion.
— Kos (@Kos_) January 8, 2015
I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed
— Dyab Abou Jahjah (@Aboujahjah) January 8, 2015
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Voltaire #JeSuisAhmed
— Adalia Conti (@AJ_Conti) January 8, 2015
#JeSuisAhmed, the policeman who died defending a magazine's right to insult his religion and culture
— haroon moghul (@hsmoghul) January 8, 2015
— Ahmed Bedier (@bedier) January 8, 2015
— ريم الحرمي (@Reem_AlHarmi) January 8, 2015
— Harry Shotton (@HarryShotton) January 8, 2015