#JeSuisAhmed Honors Muslim Cop Who Died Defending Publication That Mocked His Religion

January 8, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

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.

(Photo: kdiepeveen)