I'm sure for many people it was the first time they had ever even heard of this magazine, but when I heard that they were attacked I wasn't surprised. They have been making waves for years with their incredibly satirical commentary on the world. They take no prisoners and spare no one: Christians, Jews, and Muslims are targets of their pens. I've often checked out their magazine myself...one of the benefits to being bilingual is the ability to read things in their native language. And if you go a lot further back than Charlie Hebdo, France has a long history of satire.
Satirical or no, no one had any right to kill people over it, in the name of any religion. No one.
I don't know when people will stop and realize that when they use any religion to take action, particularly when it's a violent action--bombing abortion clinics comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples--they are using the religion to serve their own needs. The attackers may have tried to justify their actions by saying they were defending their religion, but they weren't. When you kill someone, you stand alone.
I fervently hope that people will not use this attack as an excuse to persecute people of any religion. When you start defining a group of people based on the actions of a few, it's called racism.
I pray for the families of the victims, and for the people of France. I hope this is not the start of something bigger.
Finally, you are reading this blog because I can say what I want, and I can do that because of free speech. This is a right that needs to be cherished and appreciated. Very few expect to die for it, but 12 people did.