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    People hold up pens and posters reading 'I am Charlie' in French as they take part in a vigil of people, including many who were French, to show solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in Trafalgar Square, London, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015

    Charlie Hebdo Incident is Wake-Up Call for Europeans

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    Although Europe "has traditionally been very laissez-faire in its attitude toward all cultural communities," the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo will become a wake-up call for Europeans, an expert told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW, January 13 (Sputnik) – The deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine could prompt Europeans to reconsider their attitude toward ethnic and religious communities in Europe, as well as raise questions as to how European nationals become radicalized, experts told Sputnik.

    "The Charlie Hebdo incident — in some ways similar to the 9/11 incident in the US 14 years ago — is thus a wake-up call for Europeans to consider if their laissez-faire attitude is in need of tweaking," said Kumar Ramakrishna, a head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

    The expert explained that Europe "has traditionally been very laissez-faire in its attitude toward all cultural communities, including immigrant ones, in a sort of live-and-let-live fashion." However, this makes "European societies vulnerable to certain fringe elements of certain cultures, immigrant or otherwise, that are animated by religiously supremacist, totalitarian ideologies that may under some conditions possess a latent potential for violence," he said.

    There is no universal solution to this problem, Ramakrishna noted. "In the end, each society must decide on the appropriate balance between freedom and order that its constituents can live with," the expert said.

    On January 7, Cherif and Said Kouachi carried out an attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, leaving 12 people killed and 11 injured. The brothers, French citizens, were killed during a police operation in Dammartin-en-Goele two days later.

    Children of Algerian immigrants, the Kouachis were raised in orphanages, according to BBC. However, social backgrounds of those, who turn to terrorism, may differ across Europe. In the UK they are mostly "from well integrated middle class families with little previous interest in religion," Hugh Lovatt, a Middle East policy fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Sputnik. French terrorists come from "under-privileged backgrounds with many having had previous criminal records for petty crimes before turning to terrorism," he added.

    Nevertheless, people, who turn to extremism, share a "sense of complete alienation and a rejection for the values of those societies in which they were brought up in," Lovatt said. "A common theme though tends to be a strong desire to act against (and ultimately avenge) the perceived harm inflicted against (Sunni) Muslims as a result of US or European policies," he added.

    "Un-governed spaces on Europe’s periphery where violent conflicts are taking place (such as in Libya, Syria, Iraq, etc.) also act as fertile ground for further radicalization and training," Lovatt added. Indeed, Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011. While there, he allegedly met with Anwar al-Awlaki, who was at the time one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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    radical Islam, extremism, terrorism, Charlie Hebdo attack, Charlie Hebdo, Europe, Paris
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