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Charlie Hebdo: What Went Wrong?

By Elaheh Azimfar

Wednesday morning, 7th of January 2015, terrorists barged into the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, and in the name of God, killed 12 journalists and writers present at the premises. It took only a few hours for the serene city of Paris to become a center of chaos, while the whole world watched in silence as to what had just happened.

The extremists had struck again, bringing the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and its unbridled terrorism at the forefront of a global war, one that has seen to be intensifying rapidly. This is not the first tragic incident that the West has witnessed at such a scale, where at the cost of religion it has come across numerous attacks, under its borders. One can never forget the 9/11 attacks in New York, the March 2004 attacks in Madrid or the London attacks in 2005. This January 2015 attack should make the leaders of the West stop, and actually think as to where this rush of extremism actually started from, one if not curbed can cause a war ignited from hatred and intolerance. The question that the West is hence being faced with is how to deal with this threat and at the same time not to compromise on its democratic values and principles?

This question of what should be done can only be answered by looking at where this Islamic fundamentalism actually gained its power as a state in the first place, one that is currently targeting the globalized world. The extremists of Islam got new momentum, when the Ayatollahs gained power in Iran in 1979, establishing the first theocracy in modern times. Recognizing no borders and resorting to vicious and ruthless tactics, including terrorism, suicide attacks and hostage taking, they introduced their own understanding of the Islam to the world. This was matched with savagery against Iranian citizenry, in particular moderate Muslims, who became the prime victims of this mold of Iran they were trying to establish. Looking at the current concept of Islamic Caliphate, one that is currently advocated by ISIS, history shows us that it was originally phrased by Khomeini and is actually stipulated in mullahs’ regime’s constitution. That is the logic behind Tehran’s tentacles in all the troubles in the region, as one of the main sponsors of terrorism.

Another milestone regarding the most fundamental human rights values was in 1989 when Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the mullahs’ regime, issued a fatwa against the British author Salman Rushdie, which according to Khomeini committed a blasphemous crime. The response by the Western Governments was timid, spineless at best where their politicians were more interested in making deals and lucrative oil contracts than seeing the threat and were only waiting for the moment to find a justification to court Tehran rulers again.

It is high time that we realize what Islamic fundamentalism actually is and how it gained power, since it is indeed nothing less than the new global threat. For years it was perceived as a mere geopolitical challenge, threatening the economic interest of the west in the Middle East. However, looking at recent years, that idea should be totally negated where this fanaticism is actually at the core of Western countries.

The carnage in Paris on January 7, was another wake up call for the West. If no comprehensive policy will be made in order to tackle the root causes of terrorism, tragedy is bound to strike again, where the only unknown in the scenario would be the number of casualties.

Elaheh Azimfar is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the NCRI’s representative for international organizations.