Juan’s Cole’s analysis of the bloody assault on the office of the satiric magazine Charlie Hebdo wasn’t as stirring as Salman Rushdie’s, but Cole got to the heart of the matter:
This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon. It was an attempt to provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point Al Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes, instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this slang term).
The strategy was akin to that of the planners of the much more audacious and deadly 9/11 attacks. Let’s hope the French reaction (and the French media’s reaction) to this dirty deed is nowhere near as colossally stupid and disastrous as the American reaction to 9/11.