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November 20, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Fredette in Washington Post | Islamic State’s Attacks on Paris Were Attacks on Muslims, Too

Dr. Jennifer Fredette

Dr. Jennifer Fredette

“The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks in Paris. It also claims responsibility for bombing a Russian plane in Egypt, which killed more than 220 people, and twin bombings in Beirut, which killed at least 40 and wounded more than 200 others,” writes says Dr. Jennifer Fredette, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio University.

In the Washington Post column, “The Islamic State’s Attacks on Paris Were Attacks on Muslims, Too,” Fredette Here details six “important things to keep in mind in the coming weeks and months, as European authorities investigate these terror attacks.”

1. Islamic State did this. That’s not the same as “Muslims.”

We cannot attribute this attack to “Islam” or “Muslims.” France is home to between four and six million Muslims. According to state figures from May, French authorities have identified 1,683 French individuals who are “involved” in “Iraqi-Syrian networks.” That means they have at least “expressed the vague desire to leave for zones controlled by jihadis.” Of these, 457 reached the region, and 213 have returned to France.

Whichever one of those numbers you focus on – 213, 457 or 1,683 —those interested in terror are a tiny fraction of France’s Muslim population, or to be exact, between .03 and .04 percent.

2. Islamic State attacked France’s cosmopolitan diversity, including other Muslims.

The attackers chose telling sites to strike: Parisian, cosmopolitan and integrated. The target was not just France, but those parts of it that are widely known to be diverse.

There was no intention or attempt to spare Muslims in Paris. That is consistent with how the Islamic State attacks “apostate” Muslims in territories it controls in the Middle East.

3. France’s Muslim groups immediately and definitively reject these attacks.

Just as they did following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the HyperCacher grocery store in January, France’s Muslim associations and prominent figures immediately declared their disgust with the violence.

In an article that refers to Islamic State only as Daesh, SaphirNews, a French online news outlet reporting on issues relevant to Muslims, collected a series of these condemnations.

For example, the French Council for the Muslim Religion (the official interlocutor between the state and Muslims in France) stated that it “along with all Muslim organizations condemns with the greatest vigor these odious and despicable attacks.” The Paris Mosque “condemns with the greatest force the terrible murderous wave of terrorist attacks of unprecedented gravity that has struck our country.”

Read Fredette’s points #4-6 in the Washington Post, including:  4. French Muslims are worried about violence. 5. The refugee crisis isn’t the reason for the attacks. Rather, the refugees are a symptom of the same problem. 6. Doors open.

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