January 8, 2015 Special Dispatch No. 5923

Editor Of Qatari 'Al-Arab' Daily: Muslims Don't Need To Apologize For 'Charlie Hebdo' Shooting

January 8, 2015
Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 5923

'Abdallah Al-'Athbah, editor of the Qatari daily Al-Arab, wrote on his Twitter account (@A_AlAthbah) that the Muslims should not apologize for the shooting at the headquarters of the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, just as the Christians and Jews do not apologize for the actions of their countries. In a series of tweets following the attack, he called on the Muslims to "be men" and refrain from apologizing for something they did not do, and also added that the shooting may have been staged by France in order to manufacture an excuse to invade Libya. In addition to posting his own tweets, Al-'Athbah retweeted posts by others in the same vein. His posts evoked supportive comments from many of his followers on Twitter, as well as some criticism.

The following is a sampling of his tweets and of the reactions to them.

'Abdallah Al-'Athbah (image:

Be Men, Don't Apologize

Al-'Athbah tweeted: "I ask the Muslims to refrain from apologizing for the murder of the journalists in France. Do not apologize for something you didn’t do"; "Just because you are a Muslim you are expected to apologize for every action that has nothing to do with you. But Judaism and Christianity do not apologize for killing Muslims and occupying [Muslim] lands. Do you now understand the difference?"; "Christianity does not apologize for using drones to illegally kill innocent women and children. But the Muslims have to apologize, right?! [So] be men [and don't apologize]!"; " Christianity does not apologize for killing women and children in Iraq and handing [Iraq] to the Persians [i.e., Iran]. Christianity does not apologize for invading Mali. But the Muslims have to apologize... right?!; "Has the Vatican apologized for the Christian attacks on mosques in Europe? Did the Anglican Church raise a hue and cry when the London mosque was torched? [But] you, Muslim, [must] apologize!!!"

Some of Al-Athbah's tweets

The Shooting Was A French Conspiracy

Al-Athbah even suggested that the attack was a French conspiracy meant to prepare the ground for a French invasion of Libya. In one tweet he wrote: "France apparently wants to invade Libya under the pretext of a 'war on terrorism,' after it occupied Mali using the same pretext. This operation is a perfect excuse to murder Muslims."

Al-Athbah also retweeted a post by a user named 'Abdallah Al-Mutairi, who wrote: "France has searched for justification to establish a military base to support [Gen. Khalifa] Haftar and his militias against the Libyan revolutionaries. It said: Let us carry out a [terror] operation to support our position on the war on 'terror.'"

The Attack Was Timed To Coincide With Extremists' Attacks On Muslims

In another tweet, Al-'Athbah wrote: "How is it that the murder at the French magazine was timed to coincide with the aggression of extremists against mosques in Europe? Where is your brain, Muslims?"

He followed this tweet with a link to an article he published several days ago, titled "The West's Hostility towards Islam," about the anti-Islam demonstrations in Europe. In this article he wrote, inter alia: "The unjustified hostility and attacks on Islam greatly jeopardize global stability. If Western extremism goes untreated, it will engender counter-extremism, and that is the real threat we must face before it is too late." He also said: "Europe is witnessing campaigns of open and spreading hatred against Islam, including attacks on mosques and rejection of the other (the Muslim)... In addition, the Western and Arab media link everything bad to our Islamic religion in order to distort its image... True, there are rational and reasonable voices in the West that object to these campaigns, but they are unable to withstand such powerful [anti-Islamic] lobbies. So, in practice, they can do nothing against the campaigns of hatred against Islam and the Muslims, the last of which [took place] in Germany. Perhaps the most encouraging thing is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out against this hate campaign... The chancellor understands that the satanic hatred against Islam will not benefit Germany and Europe. Likewise, incitement to hatred of Islam and the Muslims will not benefit the U.S. and the West."[1]

Al-Athbah's January 4, 2015 article in Al-Arab

Support And Condemnation By Followers

Al-Athbah's tweets sparked mixed reactions among his followers. Many supported his call, while some rejected it and came out against him. For example, a user named Nabil Ahmad wrote: "Allah's curse on anyone who apologizes, even if it is my own brother." Another user wrote: "Who even asked us to apologize??? And for what??? We oppose this crime. It does not represent us and we shouldn't apologize for something that doesn't represent us."

A user named Anissa Hassouna criticized Al-Athbah, saying: "Does sir suggest that we sent telegrams of congratulation or support?!!" Al-Athbah answered sarcastically: "I suggest we conduct a memorial mass and wear a crucifix, mama Anissa, to prove our humanity."

Another user, Tunisiahourra, rebuked Al-Athbah: "Your statements are dangerous and constitute a justification for a terrorist attack and disregard [for its gravity]." Al-Athbah replied: "I mentioned that it was a crime and that anyone who wants to condemn it can do so" (though no such tweet in fact appeared on his account). He added: "I, however, will not [condemn it]. Let me remind you that there are attacks against mosques in Europe. Have you heard of this?"




[1] Al-Arab (Qatar), January 4, 2015.

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