A civilian employee of the Paris police headquarters is accused of killing four people, including three officers and an administrator, in a stabbing rampage at his place of work on Thursday.
The man, an IT worker, was a recent convert to Islam, an American law enforcement source told CBS News.
The U.K. Daily Mail identified the suspect, who was shot and killed by police, as 45-year-old Michael Harpon, a deaf man.
“Harpon had recently been reprimanded by his female boss over his refusal to interact with women, Actu17 reported,” according to the Daily Mail, which cited a French outlet.
So far, there is no information leading to the conclusion that the attack was religiously motivated.
The New York Times did report Friday that French anti-terrorism prosecutors are investigating the stabbings, though it wasn’t immediately clear why.
4 French officers are dead after an employee entered Paris’ police headquarters wielding a knife; the suspect reportedly evaded metal detectors with a ceramic knife.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) October 3, 2019
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the man had worked for the police force since 2003 without raising any suspicion.
“There were no warning signs,” he said. “This man was known inside the computer department, he worked alongside his colleagues and never presented any behavioral difficulties.”
Unfortunately, Paris is no stranger to Islamic terrorism, including the 2016 fatal stabbing of an officer and the infamous coordinated attacks in November 2015, which left at least 130 people dead in a series of bombings and shootings.
Both attacks were inspired by the Islamic State terror group.
While we have yet to find out whether or not this most recent attack is an act of Islamic terror as well, it’s important to note just how dangerous the political nature of the religion can be.
Part of that danger lies within the distinction between Islam and Islamism. Islam is simply a religion, one which many people practice nonviolently, as is their right.
Islamism, on the other hand, is a radical political ideology that calls for total theocratic control and often comes with violent oppression of detractors.
That’s a massive difference.
All too often, the world bears the tragic consequences of unchecked Islamism, from the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackings, to the aforementioned Paris attacks, and even current authoritarians in the Middle East who rule with an iron fist.
This is not merely a religion. This is an anti-democratic political ideology that inherently begets violence, which is obviously untenable in a free society.
The revolutionary nature of Islamism makes it extremely dangerous, because people are much more willing to do something radical when they are fighting for something bigger than themselves.
One of the basic characteristics of any religion is the belief in a spiritual aspect to the world, and Islam is not unique in that regard.
That being said, I want to again stress that the attack does not necessarily fit the bill of Islamic terrorism. It could, but we simply don’t know.
What we do know is that radical Islam turns people into terrorists. If this attack turns out to have been motivated by radical Islam, then French authorities should take appropriate action.
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