Writers Condemn 'Charlie Hebdo' Attack In PEN American Statement From Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Louise Erdrich and More
Writing is about the freedom of communicating ideas, whether it's through novels, journalism, or comics, or any other medium. Dozens of acclaimed writers have joined together alongside PEN American to condemn the murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris under this ideal. Wednesday morning, three men armed with automatic weapons attacked the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12, including the publication's editor Stéphane Charbonnier and cartoonists. The attack seems to be in response to the newspaper's long history of publishing cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammed, which is prohibited by Islam. The gunmen were allegedly heard shouting "Allahu akbar" as they entered the office.
In the spirit of the freedom of expression that Charbonnier and Charlie Hebdo embodied, distinguished writers across the globe released a statement against the attacks with PEN American. Michael Chabon, Junot Diaz, Louise Erdrich, Jennifer Egan, Neil Gaiman, Woody Allen, Colum McCann, Malcolm Gladwell, and several more authors signed a the statement below:
Together, these writers also called upon international governments, religious leaders, and civil institutions to all band together and condemn these attacks alongside them. And they also called upon these groups to address an issue that hits close to home:
British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie also signed the statement with PEN American, and he went further, publishing his own column in The Wall Street Journal showing his support for Charlie Hebdo. Rushdie himself also suffered death threats from religious extremists. After he published The Satanic Verses, Iran issued a fatwā calling for Rushdie's assassination in 1989. Rushdie's statement in WSJ also defends writing as a force of freedom:
As writers and readers and thinkers ourselves, we, too, must stand by Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of expression. Je suis Charlie .