“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” (Psalm 11:5)
In a dramatic and opposite response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks from the rest of the civilized world, over 200 Salafis in Gaza held a protest in support of the terrorists who killed over 17 people in France.
The demonstration, which took place Monday, was in protest of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s insults offered to the prophet Mohammed by depicting his caricature.
Held outside the French Cultural Institute in Gaza, protesters shouted threats against French citizens and waved signs in support of the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly, the three were the terrorists who perpetrated the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a Paris kosher supermarket.
Protesters lit a fire at the entrance to the institute and attempted to storm the building. Hamas police forces held them back.
Slogans such as “Curse France”, and “We are going to cut off your products and then cut off your heads,” were shouted by the crowd. Another chilling slogan was a direct threat aimed at French citizens in Gaza: “Frenchmen, leave Gaza or else we will slaughter you”.
As reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), demonstrators also carried a banner featuring an Osama bin Laden quotation: “O French people, if there are no limits to your freedom of expression, then open your hearts to our freedom of action. The news is what you will see, not what you hear.”
As much of radical Islam today flies upon the coat tails of ISIS, the demonstration in Gaza was no different. A demonstrator, named Abu Hassan, connected the demonstration back to the ISIS versus the West conflict.
Hassan said: “I direct a message to our leader [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] Al-Baghdadi: God willing, you have an army in Greater Syria and Iraq that will take revenge on behalf of the noble Prophet. They will never forego or neglect bringing victory to Allah’s religion…I direct a message to the French newspaper: God willing we will come to you with explosives. You will not hear the news but witness it, and I will say no further.”
Reports from Gaza said that Hamas had attempted to suppress the demonstration completely and were unsuccessful. Hamas arrested tens of demonstrators, attacked journalists and confiscated their cameras and equipment.
This is the first time that such a public demonstration has occurred in the Strip since Hamas took power in 2007. In spite of Hamas’ attempts to block the press, the story came to light via the Gaza-based pro-ISIS group, Al-Nusra Al-Maqdisiyya, which had posted photos from the demonstration on its Twitter account.