Published On: Thu, Jan 8th, 2015 on 1:49 am

Leeds imam calls Charlie Hebdo attackers an ‘insult to Allah’

Charlie Hebdo Shooting

Two gunmen captured in video footage during the attack.

The Leeds Muslim Council has condemned the gunmen who shot dead 12 people at the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The council, which includes Imam Qari Asim MBE of Leeds Makkah Mosque, labelled the massacre as “despicable” and sent thoughts to the family of the victims.

Imam Qari Asim

Imam Qari Asim MBE.

Condemnations came after three masked gunmen stormed the office of Charlie Hebdo yesterday, which has previously been targeted over its portrayal of Prophet Mohammed.

The attackers, armed with Kalashnikov rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade, called out their victims by name before opening fire during a morning meeting.

Eight journalists, including the magazine’s editor, were among the dead.

Two police officers were also killed, including one assigned as a bodyguard and another officer who was shot in the head as he lay wounded on the ground outside.

Local media reported that the attackers were heard shouting, “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “Allahu Akbar”.

Imam Qari Asim said: “This is absolutely ridiculous. Our Prophet does not require avenging. Forgiveness and compassion defined our Prophet Muhammad, not violence and avenge.

“If gunmen did shout “Allahu Akbar” when killing people in Paris, such gunmen are an insult to Allah and affront to human dignity. They are acting against prophetic behaviour and therefore we must distance ourselves from such evil and cowardly actions.

“Our Prophet (peace be upon him) did not preach violence to be a solution to all the problems. Never in history has hatred or violence resolved any issues permanently and it will not do so in future.”

The three attackers fled the scene in a black Citroen, which was later found abandoned in north-eastern Paris.

They then took a white Renault Clio and drove off in the direction of the Porte de Pantin – a major route out of the French capital.

A major manhunt has been launched.

The three suspects have been named by police as Hamyd Mourad and brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi.

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