Muslims also killed in Islamic State attack on ‘Crusader France’

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Flowers and banners are pictured, as a tribute to the victims of Paris attacks at the gate of French embassy in La Paz, Bolivia November 18, 2015. Photo by David Mercado, courtesy of Reuters

Flowers and banners are pictured, as a tribute to the victims of Paris attacks at the gate of French embassy in La Paz, Bolivia November 18, 2015. Photo by David Mercado, courtesy of Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) — Among the dead in last week’s Paris attacks were two sisters celebrating a birthday, a promising architect, a talented musician and a woman shot while out doing some late shopping.

What they had in common was that they were Muslims killed in the random slaughter carried out by Islamic State.

Most victims of violence by Islamic State and other jihadist groups are Muslims, since they fight mostly in majority Muslim countries and often attack less radical Islamic communities such as Shi’ites and Sufis that they consider to be heretics.

Islamic State — widely known in Arabic as Daesh — claimed responsibility for the attack against “Crusader France,” implying all French are Christians. With Islam the second largest faith in Europe, a massacre there is very likely to include some Muslims among the victims.

“Daesh has been killing Muslims by the thousands for years in Africa and the Middle East,” said Yasser Louati, spokesman for the Collective against Islamophobia in France.

“Now they’re killing Muslims here in France,” he said. “The word ‘Islamic’ in their name is only a pretext for their ideology. Look at the series of attacks they’ve made. There’s no end.”

France’s Muslim minority, the European Union’s largest, makes up about eight percent of the population. Judging from published lists of the 129 dead after Friday’s carnage, about six per cent have been identified by family and friends as Muslims or people with ethnic origins in majority Muslim countries.

Halima and Hodda Saadi were two sisters of Tunisian origin celebrating a friend’s birthday at La Belle Equipe cafe where their brother Khaled worked. Halima, mother of two children, was 37 and Hodda 35.

Seated outside on the terrace, they were among 19 victims who died in the attack there. Khaled said the attackers “arrived in a rush and fired at everybody on the terrace. They killed everybody, including my sisters,” he told iTele television.

Abdallah, another brother, said: “We’re just citizens like everyone else, who love our family and love people. … We’re eight brothers and sisters, and now we’re six.”

Another victim at the same cafe was Djamila Houd, 41, a daughter of Algerian immigrants who worked in a fashion shop.

Amine Ibnolmobarak, 29, was an architect who grew up in Morocco and came to France to study. “His parents sent him to Bordeaux to study medicine, but he slipped away to Paris to study architecture and we noticed him right away,” his former professor Marc Armengaud wrote in a tribute to him.

Some websites listing victims include a YouTube video of Kheireddine Sahbi, 29, playing Arab music. For Barthelemy Jobert, president of Paris-Sorbonne university where he was studying, Sahbi was “a virtuoso Algerian violinist … very active in the university’s traditional music ensemble.”

News about the dead came in various ways. A man in California reported on Facebook that his cousin Mohamed Amine Benmbarek had been killed in one of the attacks and his wife took three bullets and was in critical condition.

Cairo’s consulate in Paris confirmed that Egyptian national Salah Emad el-Gebaly, 28, died in the Bataclan concert hall.

Elif Dogan, adult daughter of a Turkish shopowner in Belgium, stayed behind when the family returned to Turkey and moved to Paris four months ago.

“Terrorism has visited us,” her father Kemal Dogan told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. “While we worried something like this could happen in Turkey, we lost our daughter in one of the leading cities of the world.”

Lassana Diarra, a French international footballer of Malian origin who was playing at the Stade de France when the attacks started there, announced on his Facebook page that his cousin Asta Diakite was killed in an attack in the city.

He asked his French supporters to “stay united in the face of a horror that knows neither color nor religion.”

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  • Rick

    But why is this news? We read of this every week. This is the tragic reality repeated regularly in Muslim majority lands, with members of one Muslim sect killing others of another Muslim sect routinely. The murderers even kill Muslims of their same sect at times, justifying it as a necessary sacrifice for the greater good. It is likely that far more Muslims than non-Muslims are killed by Muslims worldwide. We need to work against all murders of anyone in the name of any religion.

  • This article is nothing but an attempt to distance Islam from ISIS. The Islamic State represents the classic Islam of Mohammad and his successors, who never were hesitant about shedding Muslim blood. That Al Qaeda and ISIS represent true Islam is demonstrated by the fact that much of the world Islamic community cheered 9/11 and cheers the Paris attacks. The western educated liberal Muslims no more represent true Islam than liberal Christians represent Christianity.

  • Larry

    Rick, does IS send you checks directly or do you have to pick them up?

    You are doing the work for Islamic State’s propaganda wing for them.

    “The western educated liberal Muslims no more represent true Islam than liberal Christians represent Christianity.”

    OK, you are saying that you are the same as Islamic State. That makes sense given your attempts to assist them.

  • Larry

    My apologies Rick, my post was meant for Pastor Stephen.

    What I wouldn’t do for an “edit” button 🙂

  • Larry

    How does it feel to be enabling Islamic State with your panic?

    Thanks to sentiments like yours, they can count on more people around for them to enslave and murder.

    Thanks to sentiments like yours, Islamic State can have a field day with propaganda messages touting how the West hates all Muslims and cannot be trusted. That their civilized and humanitarian ways are phony.

  • ELvis

    Pastor Stephen,

    As a conservative Christian myself, I would argue based on your comment that you don’t actually know what Christianity is about at all. In the gospel, God has mercy on his enemies (us), to the point of taking their sins upon himself, dying in their place, and establishing a new type of person who is supposed to share radical love throughout the world, just as he himself did. There are numerous commands in the bible to forgive those who sin against you, to care for the widows/orphans, to love strangers in the name of Christ, and to risk the safety of your own to show your true love for God. If you’re not willing to do so, than you’re either in sin or don’t understand the teachings of Christ. As Paul said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. So what can a terrorist do to a true believer of Christ? Nothing. I’ve been on mission trips to Muslim nations, and the majority of them are nothing like ISIS. Stop believing the media, and trust Christ.

  • ELvis

    Larry, you’re exactly right.

  • Junebug

    Pastor Stephen, I understand where you’re coming from. You think you speak truth but you are simply ill informed – about both the Bible and the Qu’ran – about “liberal” Christianity and Islam. Please take some classes in Islam and maybe Middle East history so you can speak more wisely. Take on the mantle of Jesus. I am praying for your enlightenment – sincerely and in HIS LOVE.

  • Bruce west

    Thanks for your willingness to show the love of God.