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Zineb El Rhazoui (Women in the World).


Surviving Charlie Hebdo journalist: ‘I don’t have the right to be silent’

By WITW Staff on October 19, 2016

Zineb El Rhazoui was 1,500 miles away, on vacation in Morocco, when gunmen forced their way into the Paris offices of the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, fatally shooting nine people. As the publication’s religion writer, she would ordinarily have also been present at the editorial meeting which was targeted by terrorists Saïd and Chérif Kouachi — motivated, it is thought, by the magazine’s controversial depictions of Muhammad and various Muslim clerics.

For the 20 months since the massacre of her colleagues, El Rhazoui has remained steadfast in her critiques of extremist Islamism, including publishing two books — even in the face of death threats. Now the mother of a baby, less than a year old, the 34-year-old author explains why she does not see backing down as an option.

“After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, when I started to be targeted by all of those fatwas, a lot of people told me, ‘Why don’t you go somewhere in the world, change your name, and live happily with your family?’ and I thought about it. But I felt that if I go somewhere, if I stop being the person I am, if I change my name and hide my identity, it’s exactly like I was killed also on the 7th of January.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are waging the same battle against oppression that she is, she reasons, and without protections — just as journalists around the world are remaining courageous in the face of threats to their lives.

“I don’t have the right to shut my mouth,” she said.

“I don’t have the right to be silent.”

El Rhazoui recently visited the New York offices of Women in the World to speak about her new book Destroy Islamic Fascism.

To hear more from El Rhazoui about what fires her courageous spirit, watch the video above.


Zineb el Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo survivor, discusses why the world needs to ‘Destroy Islamic Fascism’

Charlie Hebdo’s Zineb El Rhazoui pens searing open letter to would-be jihadists