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Suspect Arrested in Paris Attack Near Former Office of Charlie Hebdo Magazine

A Pakistani immigrant suspected of stabbing two folks exterior the previous places of work of the Charlie Hebdo journal in Paris adopted a South Asian Islamic sect that in Pakistan has grow to be more and more emboldened, and on occasion sparked violence, in defending the central determine in Islam from what adherents see as blasphemous insults.

In a video police say they observed on the suspect’s cellular phone and that was introduced on social media after the assault, a man who suggests he options to stage an assault on Friday—when the stabbing occurred—appears to cry as he suggests he will choose revenge for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which Islam prohibits.

The man then sings in devotional tune about the Prophet Muhammad in the video. French police say they feel the suspect is the similar as the man in the video.

Charlie Hebdo journal was the concentrate on of a 2015 assault that killed 12 folks. ISIS and al Qaeda both of those claimed attackers have been users. The journal has considering the fact that moved to a various area. The assault on Friday very seriously injured two employees of an unrelated manufacturing corporation who have been using a split exterior the creating.

In Pakistan, Arshad Mahmood, the father of the suspect in Friday’s assault, discovered his son as Ali Hassan, the similar name police say the suspect gave when he was apprehended.

Mr. Hassan could not be reached for remark. It could not be established whether or not he is represented by a attorney.

The man in the video identifies himself as Zaher Hassan Mahmood, a name the father explained his son at times made use of in France. Police explained they observed a scanned duplicate of an identification card of the suspect’s on his cellular phone bearing the similar name as the man on the video works by using. Mr. Mahmood discovered the man in the video as his son.

Mr. Mahmood explained his son traveled to France as an immigrant two a long time in the past together with two brothers and gained his authorized authorization to get the job done in the place on the similar day as the assault.

Mr. Mahmood, who farms a tiny plot and lives in a village in central Pakistan, explained his son, a single of seven small children, studied the Quran diligently as a child, prayed frequently and liked to sing religious songs. He explained that folks in the location have been coming to congratulate him on his son’s steps. He explained he traveled to France in search of get the job done.

“We are very pleased of our son. Whatever he did is in his love for Prophet Muhammad,” Mr. Mahmood explained to The Wall Avenue Journal. “I say whatsoever he did is correct. There is no comprise on dignity and regard of Prophet Muhammad.”

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not reply to a request for remark.

So significantly no indications have emerged that Mr. Hassan belonged to an extremist corporation or network of militants.

The video recording indicated that he follows a strain of Islamic thought centered in South Asia known as the Barelvi custom, the biggest amid Pakistani Muslims. The sect, to which the father explained his son and the household adhere, focuses on honoring the identity of the Prophet Muhammad.

The sect is overwhelmingly opposed to violence, and has not been connected to militant teams this kind of as al Qaeda and ISIS that have broad anti-Western political agendas.

But professionals explained the sect has grow to be more and more aggressive in Pakistan, deploying defense of the Prophet as a software to achieve and encourage followers through accusing other people of blasphemy.

Ayesha Siddiqa, a investigate affiliate at London University’s Faculty of Oriental and African Research, explained that Barelvi Islam has grow to be additional assertive in new a long time as it has competed for impact with other sects. But the blasphemy challenge is also turning out to be additional crucial to other Muslim traditions, she explained.

“There’s been a transformation of Barelvis,” explained Ms. Siddiqa. “The blasphemy challenge is currently being weaponized.”

In 2011, a well known politician, Salmaan Taseer, was killed by a Barelvi who was a single of his have police bodyguards. Mr. Taseer had termed for reform of legislation in opposition to blasphemy, which make insults to the Prophet Muhammad a criminal offense punishable by loss of life. Human-rights teams say they are often misused to settle own disputes.

The man who killed him was transformed into a hero for some Pakistanis. When the killer was convicted of murder and executed, countless numbers turned out for his funeral.

In Pakistan’s 2018 normal election, a new political bash of challenging-line Barelvis emerged. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, which campaigned practically only on the blasphemy challenge, garnered additional than two million votes. The bash completed third in Pakistan’s most-populous province, Punjab, and received two seats from the city of Karachi for the regional parliament there.

Ejaz Ashrafi, a spokesman for Labbaik, explained the team doesn’t connect with for violence. “However, no Muslim can tolerate this kind of blasphemous functions as building sketches of Prophet Muhammad,” he added.

Before this calendar year, an American citizen of Pakistani origin who was accused of blasphemy was shot dead in a courtroom in which he was on trial for the offense in the northwestern city of Peshawar. In 2016 in the U.K., a shopkeeper of Pakistani origin was killed in excess of supposed blasphemy by another man of Pakistani origin.

Whilst it is unclear whether or not these incidents have been tied exclusively to the Barelvi sect, their focus on blasphemy was found as influenced by increasing intolerance toward perceived insults to the Prophet.

In the video Mr. Hassan explained he was a follower of a cleric termed Ilyas Qadri, who operates a perfectly-founded mainstream Barelvi religious corporation centered in Pakistan termed Dawat-e-Islami. Mr. Qadri has explained that supporters should not convert to violence in excess of blasphemy. A spokesman for the team explained that Mr. Hassan wasn’t a member and that they are a tranquil team.

Produce to Saeed Shah at [email protected]

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