World expresses shock at attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper

Political leaders, journalists’ groups and others around the world have expressed horror at the attack by gunmen on the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Here are some of the reactions:

“I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war” — Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Gerard Biard to France Inter radio.

“This is an act of exceptional barbarism.” — French President Francois Hollande.

“I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people…. France is America’s oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris, where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers.” — U.S. President Barack Obama.

“We condemn … this hateful criminal act. … While the terrorists are intensifying their acts to exacerbate the confrontation inside our country, both Muslim and Christians have to intensify their actions to give more strength to this dialogue, to make a united front against extremism.” — Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the Union of French mosques.

“This abhorrent act is not just an attack on the life of French citizens and the internal security of France. It also represents an attack on freedom of opinion and of the press, a core element of our free and democratic culture, for which there can be no justification.” — German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“This House and this country stand united with the French people in our opposition to all forms of terrorism and we stand squarely for free speech and democracy. These people will never be able to take us off those values.” — British Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons.

“This was a barbaric act and an outrageous attack on press freedom. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. We stand in full solidarity with our ally France. All NATO allies stand together in the fight against terrorism. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations can never be tolerated or justified.” — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“We decisively condemn this cynical crime. We reaffirm our readiness to continue active cooperation in combating the threat of terrorism.” — Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telegram of condolence to Hollande.

“Egypt stands by France in confronting terrorism, an international phenomenon that targets the world’s security and stability and which requires coordinated international efforts to eradicate.” — Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

“This is a brazen assault on free expression in the heart of Europe.” — Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“This is a dark day for freedom of expression and a vibrant press culture. But above all, it is an appalling human tragedy.” — Stephan Oberreit, director of Amnesty International France.

“This will create fear among people on a whole different level than we’re used to. Charlie Hebdo was a small oasis. Not many dared do what they did. I don’t know what’s going to happen to them. Can they continue to publish the magazine?” — Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who lives under police protection after drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

“I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. `Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning `fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” — Novelist Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his novel “The Satanic Verses” drew a death edict from Iran’s religious authorities.

“Charlie Hebdo was among the magazines that showed the most solidarity with Jyllands-Posten when the Muhammad crisis was at its peak. We haven’t forgotten that. Here at Jyllands-Posten we feel strongly for our colleagues in Paris.” — Editorial in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which faced numerous threats and foiled attacks after it published 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.