An event in Montreal organized by the Association Humaniste du Quebec gave cartoonist Zineb El-Rhazoui the chance to address members of the press, following fears expressed by the association that a similar copy-cat attack could occur in Canada.
El-Rhazoui said work will continue at Charlie Hebdo, despite the attack on January 7 which claimed the lives of 10 of the magazine’s staff.
Global outpouring of support and millions of dollars in donations won’t bring back the journalists according to El-Rhazoui.
She told attendees that terrorists and not cartoonists make the bigger mockery of religion.
“This is the most ugly caricature, that this is the most ugly picture of their religion. It is not the pictures made by Charlie Hebdo.”
El-Rhazoui is touring Canada as part of a fundraising exercise in support of her magazine. It’s also an activist campaign that concentrates on an always sensitive debate in the province and throughout Canada; how to tackle radical Islam.
“Today I think it is important to choose what we want. When we find ourselves in such an emergency situation, we have to choose our camp. Are we for freedom or for something else?”
However, jihadist groups have continued to encourage Muslims to carry out attacks in the West. The Islamic State urged Muslims to carry out new attacks after targeting of France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Abu Mohamed al-Adnani referred to attacks in France, Australia, Canada and Belgium.
“Muslims in Europe and the infidel West (are urged) to attack the Crusaders where they are. We promise that in the Christian bastions they will continue to live in a state of alert, of terror, of fear and insecurity… You have seen nothing yet.”
The spokesperson added that the group would also consider Muslims who were able to carry out such attacks but failed to do so as enemies.
Western intelligence agencies remain in a high state of alert concerning the chance of IS sympathizers and other jihadist groups carrying out attacks in the West. Thousands of recruits have travelled to fight alongside jihadist groups.
The rousing words and Canadian tour of a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist will keep the issue fresh in the minds of locals and may help to raise the funds the magazine needs, but the chance of making an impact upon radical Islamists is likely to be minimal at best.
[Image – Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS]