Sadness and solidarity after Paris attacks
After the terrorist attacks in Paris almost four million people across France took to the streets on Sunday. Some 50 heads of state and government also participated in the funeral march in Paris. Commentators see this as a reaffirmation of democracy, but also warn that Europe's society is marked by many rifts that may even be deepened by the "Je suis Charlie" slogan.
The republic is back on its feet
Almost four million people demonstrated across France in support of the victims of the Paris attacks on Sunday. For the left-liberal daily Libération, the rallies were a milestone in the history of democracy: "Something unprecedented took place on Sunday in the streets of France. The country of Voltaire and [Charlie Hebdo cartoonist] Cabu rose up in a huge civic movement against violence, obscurantism and social division. The republic was hit to the quick, but two days later it is back on its feet. These demonstrations will remain engraved in people's memory as a milestone and a signal for democracy. How to let them take seed and grow? By fighting the scourge of racism today and tomorrow, with strength and patience. The French people have made this clear: the principle that unites us is the acceptance of differences."
"Je suis Charlie" slogan too restrictive
Je suis Charlie, the slogan adopted by millions of people in support of the victims of the Paris attacks, only results in further exclusion, the liberal daily Corriere del Ticino writes: "To be or not to be Charlie Hebdo? That is the question. ... We are Charlie because we're on the victims' side, but not because we're like the cartoonists. In that sense we're also Muhammad without believing in Allah: we're in solidarity with the Muslims who have nothing to do with the IS, al-Qaeda and the violent jihad of the terrorists. We're Abraham because Jews were killed in a kosher supermarket in France. We side with those around the world who are potential victims of hatred just because they're Jews. ... In the over-saturated game of slogans we run the risk of being everything and its opposite. But perhaps the truth is that we are only really true to ourselves when we know that good and evil, victims and perpetrators, are tragically interwoven and can't be separated with labels. We're on the side of the innocent victims. All innocent victims."
Crossroads between Islamophobia and openness
European politicians must be careful not to fuel the widespread Islamophobia after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the pro-government daily Sabah warns: "For several days now we've been reading about anti-Islamic, racist comments and attacks on Muslims. In this regard Europe's political elites are faced with a difficult challenge. In fact they've always faced this challenge, only now the stakes are higher. That's why for the first time they are being so careful not to make any connections between terrorism and Islam. ... Either they give in to right-wing extremism and fanaticism, paving the way for an Islamophobic European culture, or they take steps to normalise life in Europe with the establishment of a new philosophy of social unity."
War over resources, not religion
Since the Islamist motivated terrorist attacks in Paris there has been much debate about the extent to which they are related to Islam. The modern jihad has little to do with religion, the News magazine Der Spiegel points out: "Jihadists are political rather than religious figures. The campaign of the 'Islamic State' (IS) is about power politics and territorial gains, about new resources and spheres of control. Islam serves to veil its true purpose. Those who proclaim the higher cause of a war have an easier time recruiting fighters, especially people in a state of social or mental distress who are seeking to give meaning to their lives. ... [The jihadists] are too weak to pose a threat to our society if we remain true to our values. Spiritually, the West is not the world's leader, but discourse, rationality, composure and technology can increase its ability to defend itself. And freedom is a great cause worth fighting for, sensibly and within the framework of the law and the values of Enlightenment."
The fight against Islamism begins in Syria
After the rallies in support of the victims of the terror attacks in Paris, the heads of state and government must come up with a strategy for combating Islamism, the web portal Ziare urges: "The response to the attack should be three-pronged. A military plan for Syria, where the allies should step up their efforts against the IS. At the same time there should be a plan for strengthening domestic security - the right to privacy will once more come under pressure. The third plan must be to stop migration from countries outside the EU. However that won't solve all the problems of terrorism and religious fundamentalism either, which is why those who feel left in the lurch must be offered prospects."
The brutal result of class war
The attacks in Paris and the reactions of Europe's politicians are not part of a battle over values between Europe and the Muslim world. Rather they mark the start of a new phase in the international class struggle, the web portal The Press Project argues: "What happened in Paris was another brutal and barbaric result of the conflicts that are arising through geopolitical interactions and class-related strategies. It was not the supposed conflict between 'jihad' and 'liberal values'. ... What matters is what comes now. The democratic freedoms will be massively curtailed. More immigrants and refugees will be murdered, military interventions will increase and a class war against the European Muslim workers will begin. Those who believe that this is simply about 'defending freedom of expression' haven't understood what is really going on."