tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV January 9, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
it is the highest terror threat level for paris. president hollande described it as an attack against free speech and said the asailants must be brought to justice. "charlie hebdo" has repeatedly published provocative caricatures. including the froffette muhammad. -- froffette muhammad. is europe facing a new level of terrorism following the growth of islamist violence in the middle east and should an attack like this prompt a look at free speech? your host this week, melinda crane. >> hello and welcome to "quadriga." europe has seen its worst terrorist attack since the london bombings of 2005. who is behind the violence? what does it signal and how should france respond that's what we want to talk about with our three guests. it is a pleasure to welcome geraldine schwarz. she is a french tv journalist
based in berlin. she has worked for the news agency bloomberg. and pleasure to welcome martina sabra. she has worked as a journalist for 20 years in the middle east and africa. and it is a pleasure to have with us once again michael lewders -- luders. he worked for the german newspaper "die zeit" he writes fiction and nonfiction on middle eastern topics. let us start out by reviewing what we know so far about the perpetrators. the youngest one hamyd mourad has report gliven himself up.
and the other two cherif, are at large. cherif already known to the french authorities. geraldine schwarz, what can you tell us? >> yes, cherif was to send them to iraq. he himself tried to go to iraq. really important right now in france is this an islamic terrorist attack? these three gunmen, when they appeared in the -- at the beginning of the attack on wednesday, claimed that they were actually from al qaeda. and when they escaped from the building, journalists heard them saying allahu akbar, which means god is great. we avenged muhammad's -- charlie hebdo is dead.
>> right. what do you make of the fact that they had such military expertise? apparently they were very adept at using their weapons. the attack appears to be very well planned. does that indicate for you that they must have had some kind of military experience? >> well, i think it is a bit too soon to make any statements on that. there is a clear difference with other accidents which happened in the last weeks like a man who drove his car in a crowd in dijon. who clearly was psychologically a bit disabled and then another man a few weeks ago who stabbed three men in a station also shouting allahu akbar. now we are facing a new situation. clearly these three guys in five
minutes managed to get in a protected building and knew exactly that on wednesday, wednesday, the most important day for the paper, and they came in the middle of an editor meeting and they knew exactly who they were targeting, who were the most important figures of the newspaper. >> the other attacks that geraldine schwarz just mentioned are referred to as lone wolf attacks. they are also the kind of attacks we see in canada and australia. this one appears to be quite different. it does appear to be very meticulously planned. there is commentary by experts saying it looks like they had received some kind of training. would you say that points to an al qaeda connection, in fact? >> it is interesting to note that at least until now there has been no claim by al qaeda or the islamic state that they are involved in the terrorist attack.
nevertheless, these individuals who are responsible for the massacre might be affiliated with this group. or at least idealogically close. we don't know details yet. these people were not necessarily lone wolves. it appears to be a group of people that were involved and were indeed planning this attack meticulously over a lengthy period of time and they were professional and had the right weapons to commit such a crime. you don't get these weapons right around the corner. there must have been some professional training in the background and there must have been good connections to those people that are able to deliver such weapons. in france people are very worried about security. what's happening in the backyard of france, so to speak, because this is really a new thing and this is not really the last attack of this kind that we are going to see. >> geraldine schwarz you want to answer?
>> the editor of the paper was killed. stephane charbonnier. he was actually on a list released on a magazine of al qaeda. so even if it hasn't been claimed, they were inspired obviously by it. >> martina sabra, there has been a lot of concern throughout europe about the possibility of home grown terrorism, fomented in particular by people who have gone off to iraq or syria and then returned. the irony here is that it sounds like cherif never even got to the middle east. that he was radicalized right at home. >> yeah, this fits into a pattern that has been explained recently and recently experts have started warning of about this. there have been warnings all the time. for example, experts from a professor doctor from london, from king's college, who
is an internationally renowned expert on some of his jihadism he exactly warned of what has happened now. it is like a prophesy that has been fulfilled. there seems to be a shift. we still don't know -- we really have to underline there. we don't know whether there has been an al qaeda link or not. there has been no confession up until now. there seems to be a shift in pattern of attacks. before we used to expect big attacks. large scale attacks with a maximum amount of victims, for example. like the one we saw in spain more than 10 years ago. the big attack on the train by the moroccan men where more than 200 people died or the one in london with more than 50 people dead. now it seems that there is a shift to more small scale attacks but with a very high symbolic value. this has been predicted actually during the last months and during the last year and it has
also been predicted by experts that home grown jihadists and islamists would pose a greater threat than before. but we still don't know. it is probable. it is possible that one of -- one member of this group, and we still don't know how big the group is as a whole, has been trained effectively. maybe in an arab country or in another country. but they may also have been trained in france or in europe. we don't know this. >> so what then is the link to the fact that france, for example, is supporting the u.s. campaign of bombings against isis in the middle east? what has been the french-muslim community's reaction to that? geraldine schwarz? >> well, i mean the french muslim population in france is quite big. it is almost 5 million muslims. more than germany. double from the u.k.
so it is a population which always had struggles and conflicts with french because of the past colonial times. so they have really they feel they have to react in a very clear way. that is actually what they did yesterday, posting on social medias condemning the attacks very clearly. also, you can't avoid -- these kind of attacks are some isolated reactions on the social networks which will praise the attacks. this happens too. >> the right wing party in france that has been growing and increasing its strength in the polls, it has said since the isis campaign began, look, we shouldn't get mixed up in this. it will increase the threat of violence at home. would you say this attack bears
that out? >> i don't really see a connection between this deed that we have seen and what's going on in the middle east. that might be two different stories. nevertheless, it is big winner of yesterday of the event that we have seen in paris because very many people in france are very worried and they are fearful and they will vote for them in the next elections. i'm quite positive about that. i'm pretty sure that they are jubilant and will open quite a few bottles of champagne. unfortunately this attack will add to islamaphobia that is already in europe. the right specter of course sees islam as a scapegoat for all things going wrong in europe in terms of immigration, economic woes, societal gaps, whatever you want to see as a problem from their point of view.
it is islam that is responsible. of course these people would say we have always told you that islam is a terrorist religion. now we have another proof. so the extremists from both sides, they will feel encouraged and they will add fuel to their commitments. >> i do think there is a link between what happened and the tensions in france and the fact that france is actually involved, not only against the islamic state, it is one of the first countries that actually joined the u.s. in the air strikes there. informs it was fighting against the islamists. it banned the head scarf. it always had quite clear position with islam, which explains that there are i think more tensions than in germany, for example. >> absolutely. >> it happened in germany as well.
there is this new party, which seems to be close to the anti-muslim or anti-- the so-called anti-islamizeation movement. europeans against islamization of europe. yesterday people felt that it was sort of outrageous because one of the main representatives of the anti- muslim movement in germany, they tried to capitalize immediately on what happened. i think that many people understood the game. they really understood the game and they felt really outraged by this. in my opinion this is outrageous, to use this horrible massacre for political reasons to try instrumentalize it on the same evening, it goes a bit too far in my opinion. >> interestingly, they were a bit wiser there. they in fact issued their grief and condolences to the victims.
i would like to come back later to the larger european issues. let us now take a look more closely at france. france does have the largest muslim population in europe and it has, as you mentioned seen islamist violence in the past. let's take a brief look at some of those incidents. >> it is not first time that france has faced severe terror attacks. in the 1990's a group struck repeatedly including at a jewish school. in 1995 alone, the group killed eight people and injured 200. in march 2012, mohammed mara went on a murder spree. a frenchman with algerian roots he struck victims in southern france over several days. she shot dead three french soldiers then attacked a school. a rabbi and three children were killed. a may 2014 attacks on a brussels jewish museum was also traced back to france.
an armed french algerian had stormed the museum lobby and opened fire. four people were killed. >> geraldine schwarz, last week in his address at the end of the year, the end of 2014, president francois hollande said he is very concerned about the rising threat of terrorist attacks. 80% of french people said in polls prior to this attack that they were worried. did your country take adequate precautions? >> you should ask the secret services. i think the attack of wednesday just suddenly, i mean, the country is waking up, you know? i don't think that the people realized that this could happen on their grounds so rapidly. because there have been threats before against france. it has been a long time that there had been threats and nothing had happened really, which you could qualify as a
terrorist attack, organized terrorist attack. but i just would like to come back to what you said at the beginning. this new quality of terror attack which targets people who are so famous in france, everybody can identify with them. it is not the same as what was shown earlier. it is people that have made us laugh for 50 years. so everybody, every generation is actually mourning today. this is a very new quality of attack. >> last month michael luders after the attack in dijon that were mentioned earlier by drivers who drove their vehicles into crowds also shouting islamist statements. last month they ordered additional security and military personnel on to the streets. can a democracy adequately take
precautions against this kind of terrorism? would you say that there were security deficits here or is this simple lay risk we must face? >> i think this is a risk that we must face in a democratic open society. there is no way you can secure a city like paris or berlin with millions of residents. of course police was present in paris and military personnel as well. but these people who attacked and killed so many people, they were ruthless and knew exactly what they wanted and they attacked. they were successful. you cannot simply control the whole city. this might happen anywhere. once you have a couple of people who are really decisive in their action and they know exactly what they want, destruction, it is very difficult for state authorities -- take the boston marathon two years ago.
security services in the u.s. and germany and france are very high. we have to live with this risk. this is part of the reality of our modern life. it is part of a risk if you wish, like taking a plane. this plane might fall down. we don't hope so. but it might happen. so there is no absolute guarantee. this is part of our reality. i'm only worried this will add to new violence as we mentioned from the other side from the ultraright wingers and i'm afraid we'll see ongoing i don't know -- and i don't know where this is going to lead to. let us assume in france or elsewhere, some islam haters they try to torch mosques or they attack muslims or kill muslims. well, it is tit for tat killings then. when does this end? >> security is one side and clearly there is a very difficult balance there in terms
of not moving too far toward a police state the other side is intelligence. you mentioned earlier threats from the islamic community in france have been known for a long time. would you suppose there may have been intelligence deficits here? should the authorities have known more clearly about the kind of circles these young men were moving in? >> again, this is a question to ask really the secret services. i think it has become much more difficult as a task because there is a -- lot of what security experts call self-radicalization, really a cloudy skiesation at home. d radicalization at home. they don't even meet other people. there are no groups whom you could infiltrate. you need a large scale of civilians, computers and this you don't want this. you don't want a police state where every single computer is
being controlled by the secret services. this is a problem. it is also difficult to infiltrate the groups. much more difficult than before to infiltrate these groups. but on the other hand, i think yes, probably there could be more money invested in certain kinds of research. i mean in certain kinds of -- for example, do we really need this large scale collection of data, which we can never really exploit. should there be more investment, more money going into certain methods of research for the services? probably. but this is difficult for me to judge. what i know is that it has become very difficult. but i would also like to point to another problem. we have a problem with the secret services who do not work perfectly. especially on the right side. there have been killings for 10 years in germany. our secret services from the right wing groups and our secret services did not really
prosecute these groups. we still don't know exactly what has happened. we now start to see as well that there might have been many more killings. not only 100 over a period of 10 years but maybe 900. because we also had a problem of classification. a problem of classification of certain crimes. of systemization and data collecting, etc. there are certain problems. i don't know to which extent these apply as well to combating islamist extremism. we know there are problems in combating right swing extremism. >> self-radicalization, could that explain the fact that they are apparently putting very sophisticated material on the internet, twitter, and so on all used with great effectiveness by the new islamist radicals. would you suppose self-radicalization is
increasing? because of that kind of -- the ability of those media? >> yes, i would think so indeed. self-radicalization is an important key word. there is lots of frustration among muslims in europe for many reasons. many people feel inferior. they don't feel part of society for many reasons. they see themselves as strangers in their own country, so to speak, because these radical muslims are in most cases citizens of france, germany or another country in europe. there is a small fringe of people who don't identify with what people normally refer to as european or western values. these people, indeed, they enjoy the internet. they get radicalized by clicking on to a certain content. they have an excellent propaganda service, so to speak. yes, this is very appealing to
young muslims in france who go to iraq or syria or elsewhere who might get the idea to stage attacks in europe. that is worrying. it is also worrisome for the security agencies because they don't know how the combat this. you cannot control each and every computer. some security agencies in the u.s. and elsewhere are trying to do so, but still they fail to realize immediate dangers that happened in boston and what happened in paris now. so the human factor remains. we will see more of that. >> in fact, cherif kouachi said after he was arrested in 2005, that he was glad he had been in prison because it took him away from what was a very dangerous path. yet he was re-radicalized in recent years. >> maybe it was only a trick. i don't know when he said that. france is the source of the
biggest numbers of young people going to jihad in the middle east. in all of europe. >> i saw numbers up to 1,000. >> yes. it is really the biggest number and i mean, there are not only muslims born or from like muslim origin, but there are also many converts. the problem is -- the question is, are we facing a problem of integration of muslims or are we facing a problem of youth, you know? and so, here again, i mean, you cannot control -- we were asking if the secret service did fail. you cannot control every single young person. you don't know what's going to happen in his head. maybe he wants to go in a coffee with a knife and kill everybody. in a very spontaneous way.
so this is also the new quality of terror, which is even more frightening than organized terror because i think organized terror can be -- how do you say -- the secret services can maybe follow and have some organized terror. but not for this kind of spontaneous -- maybe it was spontaneous, kind of spontaneous terror. >> you mentioned integration. martina sabra, at least longer term, should we be much more concerned with trying to better integrate muslims in european populations than has been the case heretofore? we often talk about the need to lock up young men who may be wanting to head off to middle east to fight. chefive kouachi was locked up
and clearly it didn't have the effect people were looking for. we need to try a different approach, and if so what is it? >> i think there are several levels. one level is islamaphobia, and the anti-islamic attitudes. this is a string which right wing parties are playing on. this of course has an effect. a psychological effect, social and psychological effect. on the other hand, we now know more about the profiles of those jihadists or these terrorists, these self-radicalized people. some of them come from middle class backgrounds but very often they come from middle class backgrounds with very difficult families. but we now know that 40% of them -- recently studies have been published for the first time about the social profiles and backgrounds of most of these people of the most violent groups and those are mostly people who are poor, who
come from broken families, who have broken biographies. so there is a certain pattern. i think we have to face the general injustice, which is spreading all over europe. this does not only affect these young muslims. this may affect any young person. some of the converts i think some of the conversions, people who were never religious, but they suddenly become muslims and they become more muslim than the muslims themselves. many do not become muslim because they know anything about islam, but they feel they are being treated indecently and unjustly. i think there is injustice. the third point i think is prevention. and we have a problem here. i think one point is investigating and giving more financial means, more money to the secret services. but we need much more investment and prevention programs. actually there have been shortcomings. we have some excellent
prevention programs in germany which have been formed, which have been modeled. well, following an earlier pattern, these exit programs which have been developed for the right wing extremists, the neo nazis have been adapted to islamists. we have some programs that have been judged in a positive way by international experts. there is not enough money. actually financial support is being -- there are cutbacks. this should not happen. we have a problem here. it is three-fold. >> you have mentioned several times the risk that we may see increasing polarization and radicalization because of the rise of right wing movements in france and also here in germany. would you suppose that in the current climate we will see that kind of a recent discussion about increasing programs
designed at prevention and integration, or is there reason to be more pessimistic? >> i think serious politicians they would go for that path, but there will be other more popular politicians who'll try to exploit the general mood and they will join in the ranks of those claiming that islam in general is a risk for society. they will add to the problems rather than trying to solve them. i see a strong polarization in european societies. not so much to do with islam or not islam. it is a social issue. we are facing serious problems in europe in terms of will i continue to live my way of life for the next years to come or not? those who do not have a good education have good reason to fear that they are being kicked out of the economic system so to speak, and they become poor. there is a strong fear among the small and middle classes of
their social downgrading. for these people it is a very easy scapegoat to say it is islamic immigrants who are responsible for all of our misery and not a globalization of general political problems. these people will demonstrate in germany against islam. they would never question policy making in berlin or brussels or elsewhere. they only go for islam. for them, there are no problems at all. which is ridiculous when you look at the southeast of germany, where this movement anti-islam movement is very strong. they have less than 1% of their citizens are of muslim origin. it is really a scapegoat they are living on and they seem to need this. the consequences there are really dire, because in most arab countries when you look at the facebook accounts, this movement
against the islamization, they are known and no arab will ever get the idea to go shopping there and invest money there. they are shooting into their own knees, but they don't have the farsightedness to realize this. >> so geraldine schwarz, it sounds to me like what i'm hearing here is the conflict of cultures, almost 15 years ago now, may be occurring not so much between the west and the middle east or there as well, but also right here within our own societies, within europe. >> yes. actually to come back to what you said, i interviewed a young islamist in germany. and muslims. some were more radical than others. the less radical said -- it is actually a movement in the muslim world. at schools. at university. they see even educated muslims, they see this radicalization
among young germans and muslims and there is a real separation now among the young muslims in germany between the radicals and the others. what they said, these measured muslims is that it is actually a problem of youth which wants to radicalize. they want purity. they want something to be perfect. and it could be anything. so now it is religion. but if there wouldn't be the religion, it would be something else. >> so what i'm hearing is two marginalized groups, one group on the right, people who feel that they are losing out in the modern economy. another group within the migrant community. muslim background but not only who feel that they too have been pushed to the side within our societies. martina sabra, looking forward politically speaking, would you
expect to see the threat of right wing violence? and there have been attacks in france, of course, on muslim institutions as well as the kind of attack we're talking about here today. would you expect to see that rise in the future? >> yeah, i think we have to get ready for that and we also have to take measures to secure places of worship, for example. this is already happening in sweden, where we would never have expected this to happen, but there has been a rising number of attacks during the last week. so i think this is a sign that we should read really and diligently. but on the other hand, i think it can also lead to a situation where people really stand together, like in my hometown for example, in cologne, when one in six inhabitants has a muslim background, some come from turkey and other countries.
the right wingers didn't have a chance. there were demonstrations last week. the right wingers were like 250 and the others were like 15,000. so i hope that we will be able to get away from this polarization and take this massacre which has happened really as a sign and as a motivation to stand together but i'm not so positive. >> when we talk about the response to an attack like this, a crucial aspect of course is freedom of the press. let us take a quick look at the newspaper that was targeted in the attacks and what it stood for. >> the "charlie hebdo" editorial team pictured here three years ago. they met each week to plan the next edition, packing it with parodies of the latest news. for five decades they have mocked the highest and mightiest. nicolas sarkozy. dominique strauss-kahn and many others.
the catholic church has sued charlie hebdo 14 times and lost every time. the counsel of muslims in france tried unsuccessfully to stop the reprinting of danish cartoons of the prophet muhammad. a bomb attack wrecked the paper's offices in 2011. this followed threats of violence over one edition where they changed the title to "charia hebdo." the following title was love is stronger than hate, but was still provocative. >> a very irreverent approach, to put it mildly. western democracies hold freedom of expression to be an absolutely central pillar of our societies. but at least in germany, there is also, as a very, very central value the idea of the respect for human dignity. have we got the right balance between those two values? >> well, i think it is difficult to talk about values without take into account the social
realities in a given country. it is these social realities that really define the way in which groups interact with each other. as a result of the ongoing to crisis in various parts in the world, be it in the middle east, russia, ukraine, i think there are ongoing tensions. there are different groups within society who hold different opinions and they are not necessarily used to, you know, fighting it out peacefully. let us not forget that in germany in particular, the idea of economic wellbeing is one of the cornerstones of german identity. the germans were very unhappy, many of them when they lost their beloved mark and now we have the euro. we are also facing a time of serious economic turmoil. germany is still very strong compared to other countries in europe, but still there are people fearful of losing their social status. this is a core issue. in my opinion, we haven't found
the right answers to the questions how can we deal on a national level with the challenges of globalization. if we do not face these challenges, there will be more and more groups who'll fight against other groups within their own society because they believe they are competitors to their own wellbeing and immigration is seen as a threat mainly by the smaller income groups. they do not realize that germany in particular needs immigration in order to keep on living on a rather high level. >> but our commitment to freedom of expression. do we need to just stay the course? say that a paper like "charlie hebdo" must have the right to publish whatever it wants? >> yes, absolutely, of course. there is no discussion about this. of course even a satire knows its limits. certain people in germany will be very careful to draw a caricature on the pope, for instance. >> geraldine schwarz, should the
editors at "charlie hebdo" have been more prudent? should they perhaps have taken some measures at least after the bombing in 2011 to accord somewhat more respect for sensibilities of the muslim population in france? >> no. no, it would be discriminating. they are making fun of everybody. the jews, the christians, all the politicians. so it would be actually against their own value to make a difference. these people were actually living for values and for freedom. we actually are very -- never asked to live for. it is very rare that people are asked to do these sacrifices for the freedom of expression. and also about satire, i think we have to make a difference between a newspaper and a normal
journalist and a cartoonist. i think cartoonists are a bit like artists. it is a new space. it is another space. they are actually free to say things and to show things that the journalists can't do because the journalist has to protect its source. it has to be quite careful with its contact. so a satire cartoonist has a freedom a journalist doesn't have. >> after the danish cartoons were published and we had a discussion very much like this one, one of the danish colleagues said after he received death threats that he felt he and his colleagues had been naive. would you say that is true here as well? >> naive would maybe be the wrong word. there is a great responsibility.
so many people around the world like to use these caricatures. who really suffers from today from the fact that people have died allegedly because of his book. not because of his book. there are people who incite the violence. this is it. i think we really should not mix up things. i think that the freedom of expression is a sacred value and we should stick to that. this newspaper, these people -- this magazine, nobody there did kill anybody. they did not kill. i read yesterday some reactions on twitter and so on. they should not have done this. i think this is completely ill. this is really a sick way of argumenting and we should not fall into this trap. another thing which i find very important to underline here is that there is a satirical tradition in the arab cultures as well as. i call them cultures because they are very different from iraq and also to the gulf.
people inside arab culture have been much harder sometimes in the past. these are ideological movement who claim one arab culture which does not exist, a unified identity that has never existed, and also we have to add that most of the victims are muslims of this radicalism. let's not forget that most of the victims, most of the people who die of radicalism today are muslims. of course it is very symbolic. europeans are being more and more targeted, but up to today the number of muslims outnumbers by far the number of european victims. >> michael, when you speak to your friends and acquaintances in the middle east, what sense do you get from them about where they would stand on freedom of expression? and an attack like this one? >> most arabs i know would be very happy if they enjoyed the same freedom of expression that exists in europe. so they are striving for the