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Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?

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A cartoon style drawing hangs outside France's embassy that reads in Spanish "The pencil is the most peaceful weapon, don't mess with humor" in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Masked gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical newspaper that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad, methodically killing 12 people Wednesday, including the editor, before escaping in a car. It was France's deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

A cartoon style drawing hangs outside France’s embassy that reads in Spanish “The pencil is the most peaceful weapon, don’t mess with humor” in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

(New York Times) – The French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo skewers people of all faiths and backgrounds. One cartoon showed rolls of toilet paper marked “Bible,” “Torah” and “Quran,” and the explanation: “In the toilet, all religions.”

Yet when masked gunmen stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris on Wednesday with AK-47s, murdering 12 people in the worst terror attack on French soil in decades, many of us assumed immediately that the perpetrators weren’t Christian or Jewish fanatics but more likely Islamic extremists.

Outraged Christians, Jews or atheists might vent frustrations on Facebook or Twitter. Yet it looks as if Islamic extremists once again have expressed their displeasure with bullets.

Many ask, Is there something about Islam that leads inexorably to violence, terrorism and subjugation of women?

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