TIME Terrorism

Suspected Paris Accomplice Crossed Into Syria, Official Says

Hayat Boumeddiene flew from Madrid to Turkey before going to Syria

ISTANBUL, Turkey — The suspected accomplice of one of the Islamist militants behind last week’s attacks in Paris crossed into Syria from Turkey on Thursday, according to Turkey’s foreign minister.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told a state-run news agency on Monday that Hayat Boumeddiene flew from Madrid to Turkey on Jan. 2. She stayed at a Istanbul hotel and then crossed into Syria on the same day her common-law is suspected of killing a policewoman in Paris, Cavusoglu added.

“We understand this thanks to telephone recordings,” Cavusoglu told Anadolu Agency. “We provided [French authorities] with the information as soon as we got it, without them even asking…”

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Terrorism

Al-Qaeda Group Claims Responsibility for Paris Terror Attack

Attack killed 12 at the office of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo

An al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen claimed responsibility late Friday for the deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in France this week, not long after French police killed the suspects to end a three-day manhunt.

A statement provided to the Associated Press from the group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said “the leadership of AQAP directed the operations and they have chosen their target carefully.” The statement said the attack, which killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, was intended as “revenge for the honor” of the Prophet Muhammad, the depiction of whom is forbidden by Islamic tradition. The magazine had repeatedly mocked him—and other religions—in cartoons.

The claim, which the unnamed spokesman said was delayed two days after Wednesday’s attack for “security reasons,” did not come as a shock. One of the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attack shouted, “You can tell the media it was al-Qaeda in Yemen” during the assault, according to a witness. And the French news channel BFM Television reported that two of the suspected attackers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, made the same claim in a phone call from the printing plant where they held a hostage and were later killed in a police assault Friday. Earlier reports indicated Said Kouachi visited AQAP for several months in 2011 and 2012. AQAP was among the extremist groups that had explicitly threatened the French magazine for publishing photos holding Islam up to ridicule.

It was not the kind of attack AQAP is known for. The group, founded in 2009, is notorious for stealthier, more diabolical efforts against the West. The underwear bomb worn by the Nigerian passenger on a Northwest Airlines jet in 2008 was an AQAP effort. So were the explosives secreted inside printers cartridges shipped by air cargo to the United States a year later. While other al Qaeda franchises have grown preoccupied with local affairs or sectarian battles, AQAP has remained focused on what Osama bin Laden referred to as “the far enemy,” meaning the West. As the Swedish terrorism expert Magnus Ranstrop put it last year, “They almost have an autistic obsession with striking civilization.”

Yet as a military organization, AQAP does what pretty much every group does as it assembles under the black flag of jihad—it trains young men to handle automatic rifles. If, as multiple reports say, Said Kouachi was trained in light weapons and perhaps explosives, that would explain the disciplined movements and comfort with weapons evident in the movements of the black-clad figures captured on video images from the center of Paris. More broadly, the apparent link between AQAP and the Paris attack points up the growing danger posed to Western countries by extremist groups holding territory anywhere around the world, as so-called safe havens become destinations for disaffected young Muslims looking to put themselves to use.

Over the last three years, Syria, not Yemen, has become the primary destination for jihadis as the civil war there has spawned a constellation of fundamentalist militias. Today the largest, Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), operates multiple training camps in the vast tracts of land the group holds in western Syria and eastern Iraq. “I was mainly with Syrians, but there were also Saudis, Tunisians, a handful of Brits and French,” a British-born former recruit known as Abu Dujana told Brookings Institution researcher Charles Lister a year ago. The foreign volunteers arrive in numbers that have increased since the leader of ISIS declared a Caliphate, or governing body for all the world’s Muslims, on the land it holds. The foreigners also die prodigiously. In 2014, foreign fighters accounted for nearly 17,000 of the deaths in Syria, more than half of the fatalities suffered by Islamist rebel groups there, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the unofficial scorekeeper. Only civilians died in greater numbers.

Another jihadi force operating freely in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, is directly linked to al-Qaeda, and is plotting to hit targets in the West, the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency MI-5 warned on Thursday. Al-Nusra hosted the Khorasan group of al-Qaeda operatives that U.S. warplanes targeted in the first wave of airstrikes on ISIS inside Syria last year; U.S. officials feared the group was nearing development on a bomb that would escape detection by airport screening. But unlike ISIS, al-Nusra maintains a nationalist as well as religious posture, and a military effectiveness that has made it popular with other less extremist fighters. When the United States designated al-Nusra a terrorist orgaanization in 2012, other rebel groups chanted, “We are all Jabhat al-Nusra.”

In Yemen, meanwhile, events have conspired to distract AQAP from its focus on “the far enemy.” In September the capital city of Sana’a fell to a Shia tribe backed by Iran, the Houthis, who effectively took over Yemen’s government. By then AQAP had declared an “Islamic emirate” in one of Yemen’s more remote provinces, Hadramout. It’s now at war with both the Houthis and Yemen’s military.

In fact, on the very day two men killed a dozen French civilians in downtown Paris, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula detonated a car bomb in Sana’a. The blast killed 31 police cadets, but brought the organization the merest fraction of the attention that came with reports that one of the Paris attackers had spent time with the group three years ago.

-Additional reporting by Vivienne Walt / Paris.

TIME France

Kosher Grocery Assault Confirms Worst Fears of French Jews

A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows a general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015.-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-SHOOTING
Gabrielle Chatelain—AFP/Getty Images A screengrab taken from an AFP TV video shows a general view of members of the French police special forces launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris, on Jan. 9, 2015.

Jewish community in Paris had already been on high alert

The worst fears of France’s already tense Jewish community came to be on Friday when an assailant believed to have killed a policewoman the day before took hostages at a Kosher supermarket in eastern Paris.

The suspect was killed when police stormed the market and several hostages were reportedly freed, but the fate of others remains unclear. Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters earlier that the suspect, believed to be Amedy Coulibaly, 32, had ties to the gunmen in the terror strike on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, who were killed in a separate police operation on Thursday.

The assault on the Kosher supermarket shook the Jewish community in France and abroad. As dual hostage situations unfolded, police ordered the closure of all shops in the tourist-filled Jewish neighborhood in central Paris, far from the supermarket under siege in the city’s east, according to the Associated Press. And ahead of the Sabbath Friday evening, the iconic Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed, USA Today reported.

The Jewish community in France, numbering more than 400,000, had already been on guard after an uptick in anti-Semitic violence in recent years, including the shooting of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014, allegedly by a French Muslim man. After the attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jewish institutions were on maximum alert, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Volunteers joined police deployed by the French authorities to secure schools and religious sites.

“We are past red alert at this stage, it’s all hands on deck because, sadly, the question is not whether the French Jewish community will be targeted, but when,” Chlomik Zenouda, vice-president of the National Bureau for Vigilance against anti-Semitism, told JTA before the assault on the supermarket.

When an attack materialized, on the Kosher supermarket in the Porte de Vincennes, condemnation of the assault and expressions of support flowed in from the Jewish community around the world. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted in solidarity:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered assistance to French authorities and convened a teleconference with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his security staff, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“The terror attack that has gone on for three days now is not just against the French nation, or against the Jews of France, but is aimed at the entire free world,” Lieberman said, the Jerusalem Post reported. “This is another attempt by the forces of darkness emanating from extreme Islam to sow fear and terror against the West, and the entire international community must stand like a wall and with determination against this terrorism.”

In a statement, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League “expressed deep concern” over the attack. “Islamic extremism is a common enemy of Jews and democratic states. That message needs to be heard and internalized by governments and mainstream society,” the ADL said.

Read next: Watch Parisians Vow To Stand Strong Against Terror Threat

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TIME foreign affairs

Muslims Are Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

People like candles during a rally in support of the victims of the attack by gunmen at French satyrical newspaper Charlie Hebdo at the Place de la Republique in Paris, on Jan. 7, 2015.
Martin Bureau—AFP/Getty Images People light candles during a rally in support of the victims of the attack by gunmen at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo at the Place de la Republique in Paris, on Jan. 7, 2015.

Jasmine El-Gamal is a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.

In an era defined by the question 'Why do they hate us?' we are viewed as other by both 'they' and 'us'

Wednesday’s attack on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was a cowardly act intended to terrorize, intimidate, and silence. As an American Muslim, I am here to tell the attackers this: I, for one, will not give in. Unlike Anjem Choudary, the radical cleric who has taken it upon himself to speak for all Muslims in an op-ed in USA Today, I do not claim to speak for anyone. I do not presume to represent all Muslims. But let me be clear: neither does Mr. Choudary.

As I read the initial reports of the attack on Wednesday, I felt an all too familiar combination of fury, helplessness, and dread. This latest incident, following the tragic events at an Australian chocolate shop and a Pakistani school, has brought to the forefront questions that have been on our collective minds for over a decade now. Global terrorism carried out by people who claim to be Muslim has blurred the lines between Islam as an ideology, Islam as a religion, and Muslims themselves.

American Muslims—much like French Muslims, I imagine—are in between a rock and a hard place. We are often judged by the actions of extremists who would just as soon have us killed as they would our fellow non-Muslim Americans—let us not forget that two of the victims in Paris were Muslims. These extremists, like Choudary, would have you believe that all Muslims want to see everyone abide by Sharia law; that all Muslims believe adulterers should be stoned, women covered, and cartoonists murdered for exercising free speech. If we live in the East and are not religious, we are sometimes derided and even threatened by these fanatics who have no tolerance for dissent.

However, if we live in the West and are religious, we are sometimes viewed with suspicion in our own countries, where it is easier to walk around in Daisy Dukes than to cover your head with a scarf. In an era defined by the question “Why do they hate us?” we are viewed as “the other” by both “they” and “us.”

Make no mistake: I do not like seeing insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. I also do not like seeing an image of the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung. I do not think anyone should go out of their way to insult beliefs that so many hold so dear. But do I think anyone should be killed for it? With all my heart, my answer is no. And if you look at the Facebook and Twitter pages of non-extremist Muslims throughout the world, you will see them saying the same thing.

Some of the media coverage following the Paris attacks has shown me that there is still much work to be done by all of us in the wake of recent events to combat the vitriol proliferated by both the likes of Choudary as well as anti-Muslim extremists on the other side of the spectrum. It is not really my place to address French citizens or any other citizens other than my own fellow countrymen. And so my plea to you is this: As we have this difficult and public conversation, let’s not forget who we are. We are Americans. Let’s provide an example to be followed. In this time of crisis, let’s band together rather than picking each other apart.

This does not mean we should self-censor or avoid stating painful facts. But if you are a Muslim, take a minute to speak out against terrorism—even if you don’t think you should have to. If you are not Muslim, do the same against anti-Muslim biases. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, everyone has some form of a podium at which they can stand and speak their mind freely. Let’s do so together.

Mr. Choudary has his opinions and beliefs, and I believe strongly in his right to air them. Unlike him, I do not think others should have their microphones or pens taken away when their views insult me or anyone else. I will simply use my own in response. I will not, however, claim to speak for anyone but myself—and I urge Mr. Choudary to do the same.

Jasmine El-Gamal is a civil servant in the U.S. Government and a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project. The views expressed in this article represent her personal opinion.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME France

British MP: Paris Shooting Suspects Have Been Communicating With People in Yemen

The chairman of the U.K.'s Intelligence and Security Committee revealed the suspects in the Charlie Hedbo killings have been in touch with people in Yemen

As the search for two men suspected of killing a dozen people in Paris on Wednesday continues, Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of the U.K.’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said on Friday that the suspects had been in recent contact with people in Yemen.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today program, Rifkind said, “What is emerging in Paris is that the two individual responsible for the terrible massacre at Charlie Hebdo were communicating with people in the Yemen over the last days, last few weeks.”

Backing Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, in calling for increased surveillance powers, Rifkind continued, saying, “The hugely important objective is to enable intelligence agencies to be able to get hold of these communications to try to prevent incidents of this kind.”

TIME France

Gunman Linked to Charlie Hebdo Shooters Takes Hostages at Kosher Grocery

Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.
Dan Kitwood—Getty Images Police arrive with guns at Port de Vincennes on Jan. 9, 2015 in Paris.

He is believed to have killed a policewoman on Thursday

The suspected shooter of a female cop in a Paris suburb is now also suspected of attacking a kosher grocery store. The New York Times reports that the shooter has taken five hostages and killed two at Hyper Casher in eastern Paris near the Porte de Vincennes.

The suspect, a man named Amedy Coulibaly, is reportedly in the same terrorist cell as the two Charlie Hebdo shooters currently suspected of holding a hostage in a factory northeast of Paris near Charles de Gaulle airport. There, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi have reportedly told negotiators they intend to “die as martyrs.”

Coulibaly and a woman, Hayat Boumeddiene, are both wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a police office in the suburb of Montrouge on Thursday, according to a statement from law enforcement officials.

On Friday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters that the incidents were connected and that the shooter had communicated with the Kouachi brothers — suggesting that Wednesday’s attack might be part of a bigger plan. “The latest advances in the investigation allows us to establish a connection” between the two incidents, Valls said on Friday afternoon, while he was meeting the grief-sticken staff members of Charlie Hebdo, at the offices of the French daily newspaper Libération.

A third suspect in the Charlie Hebdo attack, Mourad Hamyd, has already surrendered. The two hostage situations remain ongoing as French law enforcement officials reportedly work toward resolution.


TIME psychology

Sibling Barbarity: What Drove the Brothers Accused of Paris Attack?

People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
Thibault Camus—AP People gather to pay respect for the victims of a terror attack against a satirical newspaper, in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015.

The sibling bond can be a powerful force for good—until it turns deadly

The murders at Charlie Hebdo are a case of darkness wrapped in darkness, multiple layers of horror that have turned the local slaughter into a global trauma. There’s the hijacking of a religion, with evil committed in the name of a gentle faith; then there’s the threat to free expression, one of the best tools the civilized world has against barbarism. And, of course, there are the killings themselves, methodical executions conducted by pitiless gunmen.

Central to all of that is the mystery of the people whom police believe carried out the killings — no different in some ways from terrorists who’ve gone before them, but very different in one critical way: They were brothers. Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, both French citizens, were the central—and apparently only—targets in a manhunt that spread across France and enlisted the support of law enforcement experts around the world before they were killed in a police raid Friday after taking a hostage.

The drama played out at the very moment that, 3,500 miles away, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is standing trial for the Boston marathon bombing, an act of terror he is accused of committing in 2013 with his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police just days after the crime.

That, inevitably, raises questions about the sibling bond itself. How do the Tsarnaevs and Kouachis compare with other wicked siblings, like Lyle and Erik Menendez, who murdered their parents in 1989 in a case that became a national obsession? Are they all merely outliers, bad characters who would have each done wrong no matter what? Or is there a particular power the sibling relationship has to hothouse the worst traits in the people who are part of it?

One thing is certain: brothers and sisters influence one another’s behavior in a way that no other person in their lives—not parents, not teachers, not friends or spouses—seems to be able to, especially when it comes to bad behavior. A younger brother or sister is twice as likely to drink and four times as likely to smoke if an older sibling has already picked up the habits, according to research I reported in my 2011 book The Sibling Effect. Younger sisters are four to six times likelier to become pregnant in high school if their big sisters were teen moms first.

“Having an older sibling exposes you to things firstborns simply aren’t exposed to,” Susan Averett, a professor of economics and a siblings expert at Lafayette College, told me. “You see things you wouldn’t otherwise have seen. In some ways your innocence gets taken away.”

Smoking and drinking, of course, are behavioral misdemeanors. But older brothers and sisters can lead their little sibs into much larger crimes too. Theft, assault, drug-dealing, even murder can all be part of a sibling-to-sibling legacy that psychologists and sociologists call “delinquency training.” The hand-me-down misbehavior is more common brother-to-brother, but it’s by no means absent in sisters. More troublingly, it doesn’t take long for learned behaviors to become permanent behaviors—even if the siblings drift apart.

“Siblings train each other, they influence each other,” says psychologist Jennifer Jenkins of the University of Toronto. “A person is fashioned from all these small things.”

Even true felonies, of course, are nothing compared to what the Tsarnaevs and the Kouachis allegedly did. For that kind of savagery, you need something more—and typically that something is grievance, a shared sense of being wronged, which the siblings echo back and forth to each another, repeating and reinforcing the perceived outrage. In most cases, the influence runs from older to younger.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a Chechen immigrant like his older brother, was a scholarship student who wanted to study nursing and was variously described by his friends in all of the ways people who wind up doing something terrible often are—generous, compassionate, thoughtful, never showing a sign of trouble. Tamerlan, on the other hand, never quite adjusted to life in the U.S. and retreated further and further into isolation and resentment. “I don’t have a single American friend because I don’t understand them,” he complained in 2010.

But he did have Dzhokhar, and once Tamerlan began flirting with jihad in 2011, it might have been relatively easy for him to bring his little brother around—especially because no matter how well Dzhokhar assimilated in the U.S., he was still an outsider by birth, language, culture and, in the case of Chechnya, violent, religiously driven politics. Working with that emotional clay, a big brother could easily shape his little sib into nearly anything he wanted.

“When siblings are very close,” psychologist Elizabeth Stormshank of the University of Oregon told me, “that relationship becomes more powerful and meaningful and can enhance risk behavior as well.”

If the Kouachis underwent a similar radicalization, early reports suggest it was younger brother Cherif, not big brother Said, who took the lead. Cherif had already spent time in prison in 2008 for being part of an organization that was recruiting jihadis, while Said’s rap sheet is said to be clean. Both brothers were in Syria within the past year, however, and might well have come back radicalized. According to a witness at the scene of the Charlie Hebdo killings, one of the masked shooters said, “You can tell the media that it’s al-Qaeda in Yemen.”

The Menendez brothers may have similarly schooled one another in grievance, sharing both a home and a hall of mirrors relationship in which they convinced each other that their wealthy parents had done them wrong and that nothing could be more just than for them to die for their crimes and lose their fortune to the sons they’d mistreated. Indeed, the idea that they’d been abused was at the center of the failed defense the brothers mounted at trial.

Certainly, it’s not just siblings who can share a poisonous—and ultimately murderous—relationship. John Allen Muhammad and Lee Roy Malvo, the Beltway snipers who terrorized the Washington metropolitan area in 2003 weren’t brothers. Nor were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers. But in both cases there was a dominant partner—very similar to an older sibling. Muhammad was much older than Malvo—41 at the time of the killings compared to Malvo, who was only 17. Klebold and Harris were classmates, but Harris was the far stronger, far more lethally charismatic personality, someone who would likely have turned out a monster no matter what. Without Harris, Klebold may have had a chance.

It’s way too early to say anything with certainty about the Kouachis’ relationship. Even if both survive the ongoing manhunt and are captured, it may be impossible to unravel their shared pathology. It matters—some—to try, because understanding the mind of evil may help prevent such crimes in the future. But in some ways the effort is irrelevant. The 12 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack are never coming back; the 11 people who were injured can never be fully uninjured. It is a sad fact of this latest human atrocity that the sibling relationship—which can be one of the richest and most nurturing of all—may have been the source of so much suffering.

TIME France

See the Eiffel Tower Go Dark in Honor of Paris Attack Victims

The iconic tower cut its lights at 8 p.m. local time on Thursday, a day of national mourning.

The iconic Eiffel Tower dimmed its lights Thursday night, as France ended a day of mourning for those killed in a terrorist attack in Paris the day before.

Armed gunmen stormed the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 journalists and two police officers. The killers, believed to be Islamist extremists, were still on the run Thursday evening local time.


TIME foreign affairs

Three Reasons France Became a Target for Jihad

Global Reaction To The Terrorist Attack On French Newspaper Charlie Hebdo
Carsten Koall—Getty Images Papers with 'I am Charlie' displayed are left near candles at a vigil in front of the French Embassy following the terrorist attack in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015 in Berlin.

John R. Bowen is a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.

The country has long and tangled history with the Muslim world and organized religion

Jihad seems to hit France harder than other countries, with more than 1,000 young people leaving to fight on the side of ISIS or other jihadis in Iraq and Syria, and now the murderous attack by two men of Algerian descent on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Why, and where will this latest attack lead?

There are three points to keep in mind as we watch the investigations play out.

First, France has been more closely engaged with the Muslim world longer than any other Western country. Since 1830, when it conquered Algeria, it has seen much of Muslim Africa as its own backyard. And after World War I, France took control of Syria and Lebanon as well. Many French settled in North Africa, and after World War II, many North Africans came to France to work in new factories, most settling in poor areas in Paris, Lyon, and the industrialized north. In the post-industrial era, factories were shut down but the settlers stayed. And it is their children and grandchildren who in 2005 exploded in rage over their exclusion from French society. The 1995 movie La Haine showed this rage before the fact—and also made clear that these explosions had nothing to with religion.

France left Algeria only at the end of a long and bloody war, from 1954 to 1962, which continues to reverberate throughout the country, especially in the south, where Algerians who fought on both sides of the war settled in Provence and kept the conflict alive. Here is where the far-right National Front was founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen, a paratrooper nourishing anger against De Gaulle’s “abandonment” of French Algeria. His daughter Marine now leads the party.

But unlike other European colonial powers, the French never really left their former colonies, continuing to intervene economically and militarily to defend France’s national interests in Africa and the Near East. Now this means battling al Qaeda and ISIS in Mali, Iraq, and, perhaps in the future, Syria. So when disaffected young men and women tune in to jihadi web sites, they find French-speaking Muslims telling them of the sins their government is committing against their “brothers and sisters” in Iraq and Syria. Resentment at French racism, at the series of largely symbolic measures taken against Muslims, such as the 2010 ban on wearing face-veils in public, add to this anger, and lead some towards fighting.

Second, the French Republic has nourished a sense of combat with the Church—which for some means with religion of any sort. If in the 19th century, the Church retained its hold on young minds through its monopoly of primary schools, by the end of that century the state had built a secular and free system of schools. Thereafter, the Dreyfus affair pitted an openly anti-Semitic Catholic establishment against pro-Republican intellectuals, Vichy gave powers to anti-Jewish French officials, and after the war schools continued to be the focal point, a microcosm, of the battle between religious and secularist camps.

Modern France thus produced a strong tradition, especially in Paris, of opposition to organized religion, and satire of its pretensions. Charlie Hebdo succeeded a long line of satirical magazines that ridiculed religion, and Charlie took down all with pretensions: Christians, Muslims, Michael Jackson—everyone.

Third, the attack risks to add fuel to the rise of the Far Right in France and throughout Europe. The National Front is already spinning the attack as showing up the basic incompatibility of Islam and the values of France. Even as its leader, Marine Le Pen, the much smoother political heir to her father, Jean-Marie, maintains a moderate line, officially stating that France was united for freedom of expression, she added that “the time for hypocrisy was over,” and that not confusing Islam with terrorism not ought to lead us to deny the obvious. Some of her lieutenants went further, attacking Islam directly, and the immediate commentators to Le Monde’s on-line coverage overwhelmingly took this line: anti-religion and anti-Islam.

France will not change its decades-old foreign policy, nor are rights and practices of satire likely to fade away. But the main impact may be to use the attacks as an excuse to blame Islam and immigration for broad anxieties about where things are going in Europe today. Such a confusion can only strengthen the far right.

John R. Bowen is a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and author of Can Islam be French, Blaming Islam, and the forthcoming Shari’a in Britain.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME France

How Twitter Tracked the French Terror Suspects

France Search for Paris Terrorists
Francois Nascimbeni—AFP/Getty Images Members of GIPN and of RAID, French police special forces, are pictured in Corcy, near Villers-Cotterets, north-east of Paris, on Jan. 8, 2015, where the two armed suspects from the attack on French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo were spotted in a gray Clio.

The precise whereabouts of Saïd and Chérif Kouachi are unconfirmed

Thousands of police and soldiers were searching for Saïd and Chérif Kouachi on Thursday in connection with the killing of 12 people in an attack on the office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. But Twitter was never far behind.

The suspects were first seen in a grey Renault Clio in the Aisne area of Picardie, north-east of Paris.

They were next reported to have robbed a gas station in nearby Villers-Cotteret.

A French journalist later tweeted a photo of the gas station which had been sealed off by police.

The search then moved to Crepy-en-Valois as convoys of police vehicles entered the town.

A local radio station tweeted pictures of military helicopters hovering in the area.

The search then moved to Abbaye de Longpoint.

And then onto the nearby forest.

There is no official confirmation of the whereabouts of Saïd and Chérif Kouachi and Twitter may prove to have been inaccurate. But we’ll need to keep an eye on social media to find out.

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