Charlie Hebdo - January 2015

Our thoughts are and have been with the people of France for almost a week now.  On Sunday, the leaders of the world came together – leaders as diverse as the prime minister of Israel and the president of the Palestinian Authority – to march arm in arm, to say in word and in deed, “Je suis Charlie.”  Almost simultaneous to the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, emerged #JeSuisAhmed in tribute to police officer, Ahmed Merabet, who was shot by the gunmen who slaughtered the eleven who were associated with the satirical paper “Charlie Hebdo.”  Today we add to the names of Officer Ahmed, a Muslim, and to the Christian and non-religious employees of Charlie Hebdo, the names of the Jews who were slaughtered at a kosher supermarket last Friday – Yoav Hattab, Francois-Michel Saada, Phillipe Braham, and Yohan Coheb – all of whom were buried in Israel this morning.  As we mourn the death of these sixteen victims, we stand with the people of the world who abhor the actions of extremists of every ideology and say, “I am Charlie.  I am a Christian.  I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am an atheist, I am a free thinker.  I am a human being whose consciousness elevates me to accept difference and demands that I protect the right to defend it.”