Czech leaders say senseless killings in Paris “attack on fundamental European values”

Charb, the publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, photo: CTK

Czech political leaders have joined widespread international condemnation of the brutal terrorist attack against the staff of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The Czech government has voiced its solidarity with the people of France and stressed the need for Europe to unite in defense of its values.

Charb,  the publishing director of Charlie Hebdo,  photo: CTK
As news of the deadly attack in Paris spread, Czech officials expressed sorrow and shock over the barbaric deed. Speaking at a press conference in Prague, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka condemned the senseless violence and extended condolences to the people of France, the victims and their families. He said the terrorist attack in Paris was a clear indication that the international effort and cooperation in fighting terrorism must not weaken.

“I want to say on behalf of the Czech government that we most strongly condemn this brutal attack against innocent people. It is an attack against freedom of speech and no democratic society can function without it. It is an attack against our common European values and we must stand together in defending the values on which our society is based. Europe must not be intimidated by these terrorist attacks.”

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said the Czech Republic was standing by France in this dark hour and ready to support it in fighting all forms of terrorism.

“This terrorist attack -the manner in which it was conducted – shows a total lack of respect for human life and utter contempt for freedom of speech. I want to stress that like France the Czech Republic has the utmost respect for these values and we are ready to stand by France in defending them. As we see it Europe is now defending the principle values that our society is based on.”

Words of shock and condemnation also came from Prague Castle. In a letter to French President Francois Hollande, President Miloš Zeman sent condolences on behalf of the Czech people, saying the attack against the French weekly was an assault on the fundamental values on which Europe is based.

Photo: CTK
The Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Dominik Duka, also condemned the senseless killings calling on Europe to come out in defense of its common values.

The Muslim community in the Czech Republic joined in the general condemnation, stressing that this shameful act had nothing to do with Islam and expressing fears that this act of violence would only hurt Muslims and strengthen the xenophobic and Islamophobic tendencies which it said were also present in the Czech Republic. As if on cue the ultra-right Workers Party of Social Justice called on the Czech government to take steps to dissolve the Association of Muslims in the Czech Republic on the grounds that it helped spread an ideology of hate.