'The Melissa Harris-Perry Show' for Saturday, January 10th, 2015
Read the transcript to the Saturday show
Show: MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY
Date: January 10, 2015
Guest: Linda Sansour, Irshad Manji, Michael Kay, Charlie Sennott, J.J.
Goldberg, Christopher Voss, Aki Peritz
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-
Perry, and this hour I want to bring you the latest today on the tense and
violent week in France, where a string of shootings and hostage takings
left 20 people dead, that includes the three suspected terrorists. Now
this was the scene yesterday in Paris as police stormed the kosher
supermarket after a multi-hour standoff with the suspect inside with taken
hostages, many of them grocery shopping ahead of the Jewish Sabbath.
Police killed the suspect Amedy Coulibaly who has - was believed to be
responsible for the shooting death of a police officer in Paris on
Thursday. Four hostages were killed at the market.
Another - of hostages, as many as 15 made it to safety. At the same time,
police stormed a printing factory outside of Paris, killing the two men
believed to have murdered 12 people Wednesday at the Paris offices of the
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The men, brothers, Said and Cherif
Kouachi had evaded police for days, setting off a massive manhunt involving
88,000 police officers and soldiers. Officials say the brothers opened
fire at the magazine`s office on Wednesday during a weekly editorial
meeting. They killed 12 people. The magazine`s editor has police guard
several other staff members and contributors, a guest at the meeting, a
maintenance worker and another police officer outside.
The attack is believed to be retribution for the magazine`s publishing of
offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The brothers had been
known to counterterrorism officials. They were reportedly on the U.S. no-
fly list for years and one, Cherif, had served a prison term on terrorism
charges for recruiting French nationals to fight for al Qaeda in Iraq.
French officials say the brothers were connected with Coulibaly, the
suspect in the Thursday police shooting and the Friday hostage taking at
the kosher market. Coulibaly reportedly claimed that the attacks were
synchronized. Another suspect in the police shooting, a woman, is still at
large. French President Francois Hollande addressed the nation yesterday
after the hostage situations ended, and called for unity. Hollande said he
would attend the unity rally in Paris on Sunday where he will be joined by
several other European heads of state, including the leaders of United
Kingdom, Germany and Turkey.
We now go live to NBC News correspondent Ron Allen in Paris. Ron, what`s
the latest regarding the search for the remaining suspect?
RON ALLEN, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the woman, Melissa, is still at large,
Hayat Boumaddienne, and there`s very little information being released by
authorities about her whereabouts or about what they know about her or
about her role in all of this. We know that she was - is largely an
accomplish and has a relationship with Coulibaly. What we don`t know
whether she was at the supermarket when that siege took place. There are
rumors and reports that she may have escaped. And there`s some speculation
that she may have never even been there. But as you pointed out in your
open, authorities know a lot about the individuals involved, the gunmen at
the supermarket and the Kouachi brothers. One of them had been in prison
for some time as well. They had been under surveillance for some time.
And this is a period that goes back to 2005 when there was a first arrest.
So one big question here is how did this happen when you have suspects who
are under surveillance, who were under surveillance, but apparently slipped
through the cracks somehow. So, now there`s an extensive manhunt going on
in all kinds of neighborhoods all over Paris, we believe. We can`t - It`s
not very visible, however, because over the past few days, again, I`m
pretty confident, and you have to be confident, that French investigators
have plugged into every relationship that they can trying to trace this
woman who is missing. She`s considered armed and extremely dangerous. But
again what her role was and what she`s capable of going forward and what
any of her associates and others associated with these individuals, this
apparent cell, what they are capable of, is the big worry here. There is
certainly, the threat, the concern about more violence that can happen at
any moment here. Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ron, on exactly that point, let me just follow up with you
for a moment. Because on the one hand we see the really, you know, kind of
lovely, relatively normal images behind you. Young people skateboarding.
People walking, being outside, it has the sense of a community that is not
at this moment kind of gripped with fear and terror. Tell us a little bit
about sort of what the mood is where you are, sort of at the back end of
all of this.
ALLEN: Well, it`s more subtle than that. People are out and about. But
behind me, what you may not be able to see is a huge memorial that`s been -
that`s been building and getting bigger and bigger. A tribute to the
victims, the 17 Frenchmen who have been killed over the past number of
days. And there are a lot of people gathering there, there are candles,
there are flowers. There have been huge gatherings in this public square,
which is why people are using this as a sort of rallying point. There`s
also a huge march, solidarity march plan to begin here tomorrow where
they`re expecting literally hundreds of thousands of people and leaders
from across Europe to come and show solidarity with the French people.
I think there`s still a significant amount of anxiety. When we talked to
people, they say, they`re not sure if this is the beginning of something,
the middle of something. They`re certainly aware that it`s not the end of
something because terrorism and the threat of it is endemic to the society.
So, a lot of worry about what might happen next. Not in the sense that,
you know, people are tearing down, but already today there have been
significant false alarms. There was a report of a shooting near a
synagogue that turned out to be not true. But police responded. There
were reports of a man with a rifle at a subway station, the metro station.
That too turned out not to be true. Disneyland, not far from here on the
outskirts of the city was closed for a time because of threats or concerns
about a threat there. So we`ve had that since we got here Thursday morning
following this shooting at the magazine. And that`s probably going to
continue, that`s one indication of how people are very much on edge.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ron Allen, Ron Allen in Paris, thank you for your reporting.
We`ll continue to check in with you throughout the day today.
At the table here in New York. Linda Sarsour, who is executive director of
the Arab American Association of New York, Mike Kay who is a foreign
affairs reporter and former senior British officer. Irshad Manji who is
the founder of the Moral Courage Project and Charlie Sennott, cofounder of
GlobalPost and executive director of the Ground Truth Project. Thank you
all for being here.
It`s a tough sort of moment, I think for all of us. But as distressing as
kind of the immediate moment is, I do want to kind of pop back a little bit
because the reports that the one brother Cherif was arrested in 2005 just
makes me want to sort of remind people what was going on in France in 2005.
And Charlie, can you help us to remember the large riots that were
occurring outside of Paris in the suburbs largely around issues of
inequality of poverty associated with immigrant communities of color that
also tend to come from Muslim decent.
CHARLES SENNOTT, CO-FOUNDER, GLOBALPOST: You framed it well. Because it
is about the economy, it is about a country that really struggles to make
its immigrants feel a part of its culture and its economy. And those
suburbs outside of Paris have struggled with that for a long, long time.
You know, we`re seeing these horrific murderous event over the last few
days. But France has struggled with this for a very long time. I remember
covering the subway bombings, the metro bombings in the `90s when they were
really struggling with Algerian terrorism. And it`s interesting that some
of the preachers who shaped some of the very militant ideologies of these
suspects who are now either killed or maybe still at large come from a lot
of that background. I think it became like a virtual intifada, if you
remember. There was events occurring with an Israel Palestine that would
suddenly erupt in the suburbs of Paris, as if the intifada could cross
right over on Al-Jazeera into a neighborhood in Paris.
In the sense of fluidity, with the expressions that come out of the Middle
East of militancy being alive and in many cases dangerously kicking in the
suburbs of Paris has been with Paris for a very long time.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, I think this is part of what I`ve been struggling with a
bit here, your turn. So, I think so that certainly feels to me like one
really important way to tell the story. And certainly, of course, knowing
that these brothers had connection. Had gone to Yemen, to Syria, and had
training. And yet I guess part of what I`m struggling with is how much
should I understand this as some sort of global narrative, rooted in
contemporary Islam, even at its most radical edges, versus understanding
this as a French story about its long colonial relationship with Algeria,
with its struggles around immigration and inequality. Like I`m not quite
sure precisely the right way to be thinking about this moment.
IRSHAD MANJI, FOUNDER, MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: Well, nobody is sure what
the right way of thinking about it is, number one, because it is so
multilayered. And, you know, Charlie mentioned that France has struggled
with integration, immigration for a very long time. Let me just be blunt.
Muslims make up about eight to ten percent of the French population.
Muslims make up 60 percent - six zero percent of the prison population in
France. So, already you can see that, you know, the tensions boil over,
and in many cases for good reason.
But let`s not sort of take this narrative. Whether it`s the colonial
narrative or whether it`s the Islam narrative to such an extreme that we
lose sight of the good news, the hope. And here`s the hope. In France the
rate of intermarriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is at its highest
level ever, and it`s growing. And historically, when intermarriage
happens, that is a check against the most extreme aspects of either
partner`s communities. So this is not going to make the news. This is not
sensational. This is not riveting TV, intermarriage, but it is a fact.
And the next generation of Muslims is looking for much more pluralism, even
as it struggles with Islamophobia, racism and its own aspirations in a very
HARRIS-PERRY: OK, so we are going to stay on this story. Linda, I want to
bring you in, I want to bring you in on these questions as well as talking
about the issue of anti-Semitism. All of that when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: French President Francois Hollande called the hostage taking
at the kosher market just hours before the Jewish Sabbath began Friday
"terrifying anti-Semitic act." Officials call - excuse me, Officials say
Amedy Coulibaly killed four people and took more hostages in a multi-hour
standoff with police that ended when police stormed the market and killed
Now, the kosher market was not an accidental target. Officials told
reporters that the suspects had long planned the attack and had cased the
location a week ago. France has the largest Jewish population in Europe,
with 500,000 people. But some have been leaving France, citing an increase
in anti-Semitic sentiment. In 2014, nearly 7,000 Jewish people emigrated
from France to Israel, more than double the number that immigrated in 2013.
Joining ne now, editor at large for the Jewish daily "Forward," J.J.
Goldberg. J.J., so help me to understand all of this happening in the
context of what has felt like rising anti-Semitism for Jewish populations.
Is there a specific for these individuals, was there a specific strategic
if appalling region to target a Jewish population?
J.J. GOLDBERG, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE FORWARD: Well, there have been a
series of attacks on Jewish individuals and Jewish institutions for the
last decade. There was a - the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan
Halimi. There was the attack on the school in Toulouse. There was the
attack on - by a French individual last year, two years ago on the Jewish
Museum in Brussels, so that there is - and numerous smaller attacks. Fire
bombings and so on. There was a mob attack on the synagogue in Paris
during the war in Gaza last year.
It often seems as though the Muslim population views itself as -- or at
least members of the Muslim community identify with the Muslim world and
therefore the Palestinian population and see the Jewish community in France
as a sort of a surrogate for Israel. In the same way that terrorists in
Israel and the occupied territories will attack a bus in Haifa or a school
in the northern Galilee, when they`re actually going after the state of
Israel, they`ll attack Israeli civilians. There are hot heads in the
French Muslim community who will attack civilians in the French/Jewish
community as their way of participating.
HARRIS-PERRY: But J.J, I do want to be clear, though. The anti-Semitism
problem in France is not primarily a problem of anti-Semitism from French
Muslims. I mean - am I misunderstanding that? There is this problem of
anti-Semitism, but it is not primarily a problem of Muslims versus Jewish
populations there. But rather a question of sort of French citizens in the
GOLDBERG: I don`t think that`s true at this point. There is a history.
There was the Dreyfus affair a little over a century ago. There was
certain amount of collaboration during World War II, but what`s going on
now, the incidents that we hear about, and there`s a kind of a frightening
number of these incidents, are basically coming from the Muslim population.
So as much as we don`t want to blame the entire Muslim community for the
acts of a few hot heads at the Charlie Hebdo killings. We don`t want to
blame the Muslim community at large. And there`s been a tremendous
outpouring from the Imams and from the community leadership in solidarity
with the Jewish community. But the incidents that are happening are
happening from the Muslim community. It`s - the deputy mayor of Paris, who
has been on television a lot in the last few days, Patrick Klugman, is
former president of the French Union of Jewish Communities. The foreign
minister of France Laurent Fabius, identifies - his parents converted from
Judaism to Catholicism. And he`s told Israeli diplomats that he regards
himself as Jewish. His predecessor, Bernard Kouchner, was a grandson of
Holocaust survivors. So that the integration of Jews into France and the
acceptance of Jews in France is very, very thorough.
I was in Paris a few years ago, attending a dinner of the - I kind of got
dragged into it. One of these dinners of the Paris friends of a hospital
in Israel, and the guest of honor was the first lady Mrs. Chirac, because
she was good friends with the chief rabbi`s wife. So the integration on a
business level, on a social level, on the political level is very, very
deep. And one last point, the integration that`s very, very deep and
thoroughly identified, in the French Jewish community 30 percent of the old
- of the French Jewish community goes back generations, the Ashkenazi what
we call, European origin. 70 percent of French Jews now are Sephardic Jews
from North Africa who have a historic experience and in many cases a
personal experience of tension with their Arab neighbors. Both there and
HARRIS-PERRY: All right, J.J. Goldberg, thank you so much for joining us.
When we come back, we`ll take all of that we`re going to continue to stay
on this question. We also have a complicated talk, a bit about the
question of the relationship of Muslim communities in France.
HARRIS-PERRY: According to a 2010 Pew study, France has 4.7 million
Muslims. The largest Muslim population in Western Europe. And many are
the children and grandchildren of people who immigrated from former French
colonies in northern Africa. I want to come to you a bit on this one.
Because we just heard about rising sense of anti-Semitism. Obviously,
there`s this, you know, clear pain and loss in the community right now on
the back end of these attacks. But I also want to put this in a large
context about the set of policies vis-…-vis this communities that are often
Muslim from descend, but not always particularly religious, in fact,
usually, quite secular communities. We know again, in 2005, there were
riots after two young men were killed in the community. We know that
France banned street prayers of Muslims in 2011. And that - that there
have been a variety of different kinds of banks going back to the `80s on
Muslim women wearing coverings of various kinds. Including schoolgirls
wearing head scarves. Help us to understand how all of that is also part
of this story.
LINDA SARSOUR, EXEC., DIR., ARAB AMERICAN ASSOC., NY: I mean, France gets
an "F" in multiculturalism. And anti-Semitism is real in Europe, and
Islamophobia is real. And we need to make sure .
HARRIS-PERRY: At the same time.
SARSOUR: At the same time, and they are both real. And what`s really
important to understand about, you know, we`re having this discussion about
freedom of expression and I am Charlie Hebdo. But there we`re talking
about freedom of expression, but we`re not allowed to practice our faith.
There`s no freedom of religion for particular people, including Muslim
population. Girls can`t wear hijabs like I`m wearing in the public school
system. They can`t serve halal foods in the school system, you can`t wear
head scarves and work for the government. I mean, there are a lot of
restrictions. This past summer, the war in Gaza, the banning of protests.
I mean you`re a European country and you`re banning people`s right to
freedom of assembly and freedom of protest. And this is really a larger
problem. I mean, for example. Right now just an article just came out
that under the watch of the French troops in the Central African Republic,
Muslims were massacred by Christian militias while French troops were there
overseeing, you know, this violence.
There`s a lot of connection of the dots here. We can`t just look at these
isolated incidents. France, I`m disturbed by this freedom of expression.
And you know, you have the right. Of course, you have the right.
Everybody has the right to free speech and right to draw whatever cartoon
you want. But let`s have a larger conversation about who else has the
right to do things in a place like France and the Muslims definitely don`t.
HARRIS-PERRY: And, of course, there`s no suggestion at this table or
anywhere else that these restrictions are reasons or justification or
acceptable for the violence that we have seen visited upon France over this
past week. I`m just trying to begin to try to understand whether or not we
should be thinking. I mean the president of France himself said this isn`t
about world Islam. This isn`t about Muslims. And yet somehow that becomes
MICHAEL KAY, FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, it`s a multifaceted
problem. Irshad mentioned earlier that France has Western Europe`s largest
Muslim population of about 5 million. It does. France also has the most
restrictive laws when it comes to freedom of expression of faith in public.
It also banned the covering of the veil in April 2011 - Muslims in France
tried to contest that. European Court overruled it. The European Court
overruled it. Not a French court. You then look at the access to France
in terms of the freedom of transiting through borders. Now, that makes the
trafficking of people, the trafficking of weapons and the trafficking of
finance through the European community, the Eurozone, it makes it very
You then look at the historical culture of France. And we talk about over
1200 Islamic extremist have been known to travel from France into Syria and
Iraq. And intelligence communities have been worried about the secondary
and thirtiary consequences of what comes back. So the ease of trafficking,
it`s easy for them to get back. But then what about North Africa? What
about the historical and cultural ties with North Africa? We have got al
Qaeda in Maghreb, we`ve got Boko Haram. It`s reported that Boko Haram
assaulted 2,000 people yesterday and the further 19 today.
So, what does that will take - I mean what I`m just trying to describe
there is it`s the late approaches Irshad mentioned. It`s a multifaceted
We also look at converts. And I`d love Linda`s approach on there are
people who take to Islam at a late stage in their life. Whether it be from
Judaism or Catholicism or from Christianity, and they pick it up with a
sense to commit violence because of foreign policy as a reaction to the
U.S. going into Iraq in 2003. Or the fact that we in some cases have
created a governor - a governing mistake like Libya or what`s going - so
it`s a huge .
HARRIS-PERRY: But I just - but I guess, I guess, so I`m anxious again, as
I`m reading about the brothers and we do - we talk about - we talk about
the peace of Islam, and, of course, we talk about they are training in
Yemen. But that original arrest is emerging from the 2005 riots, which
were not about religious identity. They were, if anything much more about
racial identity and - although, not racist understood in the U.S. and
inequality, and particularly that not so long ago history about Algeria in
that sense that there was horrors visited. And so again, it`s like in the
U.S. here, right? The Muslim community has been a racialized community,
put faith to the side. Nobody understands how we pray, what we pray, why
we pray, that`s not the issue here. And this - my concern with the whole
story is that you`re on the U.S. no fly list. You`re supposed to be under
surveillance. You`ve been arrested. You served prison time. And then we
talked about this on your show before here. Then we engage in unwarranted
surveillance of an entire Muslim population like we do in the United
States, and then we miss out on people like these two brothers. We missed
out on the Boston bombers, who were also on the radar of the U.S.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, let`s stop right there. When we come back, we`ll go
exactly to that issue. Because I do - we`ve got - we`ve got - Mr. Voss is
going to join us and we can talk about exactly this question of appropriate
counter terrorism efforts within the context of not then wanting to engage
in inequality and Islamophobia. All when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: Witnesses to the Wednesday attack on the French satirical
newspaper Charlie Hebdo claim the gunman shouted this phrase as they
stormed publication headquarters. "Tell the media that it is al Qaeda in
Yemen." Now we now know that Said Kouachi, one of the two brothers
suspected of killing 12 people in the attack was trained by al Qaeda in
Yemen in 2011. Since Wednesday, French and American officials have
reported that Kouachi spent a few months in Yemen being trained in small
arms combat, marksmanship and other military style tactics. Yemeni
officials say that during that trip, Kouachi also met with a prominent
American born al Qaeda preacher, Anwar al-Awlaki. And yesterday a member
of al Qaeda`s Yemen branch anonymously told the Associated Press that al
Qaeda ordered the attack on the French paper "as revenge for the honor of
the Prophet Muhammad." This comes after a threat that Yemen`s al Qaeda
made in 2013 when the group released a propaganda magazine placing Charlie
Hebdo editor name on the list with the words "Wanted dead or alive for
crimes against Islam."
Joining me now from Los Angeles is former FBI hostage negotiator
Christopher Voss. So, Chris, help us to part of what we started - to think
about here as a crime has been committed. A horrifying crime. And a crime
by someone who was on a variety of international watchlists. Was there a
failure? Is there an overall failure, or is it simply that this is a big
thing, and so sometimes horrible things will nonetheless happen, even if
everyone is doing everything right from a law enforcement perspective?
CHRISTOPHER VOSS, FMR. FBI HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Well, clearly there was a
failure. But it`s a larger failure of collaboration and how much help does
law enforcement get because they can`t be everywhere. So, how much help do
they get from the surrounding community that these people moved through?
This individual moved through a variety of communities. Clearly he was a
criminal. They were all criminals and probably mentally destabilized. So
the communities that see them, and tolerate them and ignore them, failing
to alert law enforcement is where they should look.
You know, that`s part of a collaborative failure that went on here.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is an interesting question because you brought up
the idea that maybe no one has quite talked about yet, which is an
individual story. That these are individuals. And you talked about
potentially with psychological problems and distress and yet in part
because of the language of terrorism and the connection to Yemen, we see
this as - we call this group a cell. We think of them as connected to a
broad international network. In doing that, are we missing what could be a
more individualized story, or is it right to be telling this as a big
VOSS: Well, I think it`s both. I mean, you have to look at the
individuals that commit these crimes, these murders. They`re violent,
unstable people that are drawn to causes that give them an excuse to be
violent and commit violence and studying terrorism over the years, we`ve
always said that every terrorist organization is made up of crusaders,
criminals and crazies. They are people that create a narrative, and then
the criminals and crazies become involved and commit the violence. So we
try to sort all that out and stop the criminals and crazies from committing
this violence is a dilemma that law enforcement is faced with.
SENNOTT: I would just say - I agree completely that these failures are
serious. But they also have to be put in context. I`ve covered a lot of
the French counterterrorism efforts. Judge Brier, who is a former
counterterrorism judge, very famous there, would meet with the media, would
talk with them, they had a sophisticated understanding, I think in France.
How they missed this is a huge question. It needs to be addressed. And
they are going to address it, but I think we`re going to be making a
mistake if we go too far down the road of they`re not doing their job
there. They`ve blown it. I think they have a very hard job. But I want
to add one last thing, which is, you know, these guys are of criminal mind
and certainly would have to be mentally ill to do what they did. I think
you have to kind of accept that on face value. But you`d have to say, if
we in America could ever get to the point where we understand the murderous
act that happened in a newsroom and put it in the context the way we did
when Tim McVeigh went to Oklahoma City and did what he did. And we did as
the patriot movement, and he was a Second Amendment fundamentalist for
guns. Or we look at it the way we did John Salvi, who went in and shot up
the abortion clinics in Boston and came out of a catholic tradition of
anti-abortion. But we don`t condemn in America the same way, with the
sweeping indictments of gun culture or hunting, or the Catholic Church,
because we look at them as people who are crazy and who have done an
expression of violence. If we got a little bit more sophistication that
way, we would solve this crime better.
KAY: I`d just like to jump in. Something that`s just been alluded to.
Which I want to throw on its head, the BBC are reporting Eric Beid (ph) a
neighbor living right next door to Cherif has described Cherif as a well
behaved, friendly, polite, clean looking and above all, which is very
important, he was willing to help old and disabled people. So if we just
go back to the conversations we`ve just had about crazies and trying to
identify who these mentally ill people are.
People said the same thing about Tim McVeigh. And they`d say the same
thing about .
SENNOTT: It`s a complex problem. Identifying who someone is before
they`re about to go and commit something, as this description has just
outlined, isn`t easy.
HARRIS-PERRY: So Chris, let me come to you on that. I mean that`s quite a
challenge to what you suggested earlier. Which is at least communities
were potentially complicit with people who were kind of obviously ticking
time bombs of violence. It`s not NBC News that was reporting that. It`s
BBC News so I can`t confirm. But on the table, if, in fact, those are the
experiences that neighbors had. Why would they be informing on their
neighbors, and particularly to a French government with whom they have a
lot of tensions.
VOSS: It`s almost a cliche in law enforcement and every case of a serial
killer. You can always find a neighbor that described them as quiet,
polite, and cooperative.
VOSS: So, one witness` description of a person being that way is not an
indicator of that`s the way that they were perceived in the community.
But you also bring up the larger point that you have to look from multiple
indicators. And there are a number of different places that you look for
individuals like this and see where they act out. And the very difficult
problem with Islamic terrorism is because I`ve arrested and interviewed
people that recruited people like this to commit these acts of violence.
And the fine line that is always - we`ve always had trouble walking is the
fact is the recruiters look for these people in the mosques. That`s where
they find them.
HARRIS-PERRY: Chris, Chris, all right. So, Chris Voss, in Los Angeles,
unfortunately, we`re out of time. Just for this. We stay on this topic.
Before we go to break, we are getting new pictures this morning of a rally
in solidarity with the people of Paris. Thousands turned out in Nice.
Rallies like this are taking place across France today ahead of tomorrow`s
planned unity rally that will be attended by several European heads of
state. Getting my table back in when we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been talking about the France Muslim population. The
largest in Western Europe, and particularly the younger generation, many of
whom are children of immigrants from North Africa. According to a French
newspaper report, Cherif Kouachi was one of the terror suspects, was the
child of Algerian immigrants and raised in foster care. Both he and his
brother Said had been under scrutiny for years by French and U.S.
counterterrorism officials. And the path to radicalization has brought
renewed attention to the young Muslim population living in France. Joining
me now from Paris to the MSNBC`s Ronan Farrow. Ronan, you had experience
working with the State Department on global youth issues. What can you
tell us about sort of the younger population in France around these
RONAN FARROW, MSNBC HOST: Well, as with so many things, Melissa, they`re
not youth issues that that young Muslim population confronts, it`s the
issues confronting all of France. The most iconic moment of young Muslims
coming forward in a news cycle, recently was in 2005 when the mass riots
broke out in a lot of Paris` suburbs. The driving factor there, economics.
A lot of joblessness. A lot of discrimination studies show against Muslims
or individuals with Muslim sounding names on the job market. So, that hits
young people hard right here.
On the other hand, right now with Paris reeling from this attack, what`s
coming to the forefront is something else, it`s obviously ideological
motivation. And that represents another equally important strength here.
Radicalization and cells springing up linked to either the Islamic State or
as seems to be the case here, al Qaeda. So these two separate threats sort
of colliding and all of it coming to the formalist (ph) as we had into this
big unity rally tomorrow. Called the unity rally but revealing a lot of
really deep fault lines. Ethnic, religious and political.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stay with us, Ronan, don`t go away. But Irshad, I want to
bring you in on this.
MANJI: Well, we just saw a graphic upon the screen, a poll taken in
France. I couldn`t see what date it was. But what do French people think
of Muslims? Favorable, 72 percent. Unfavorable, 27 percent. I - that
very much squares with my experience of France, and I have to say that, you
know, for all of what we`re talking, the different potential motives and
the, you know, multilayered nature of French society, I am more convinced
than ever that the path to radicalization for these two brothers was the
prison system itself.
And I say this because we have seen prisoners in the jails of southern
Iraq, supervised by the U.S. and coalition partners. We`ve seen those
prisons become recruitment camps. We`ve seen those prisons become mosques
in them of themselves where ...
MANJI: Yes, exactly. Many, many ISIS fighters.
HARRIS-PERRY: That`s a very different story than they come out of the
MANJI: Well .
HARRIS-PERRY: out of the prisons.
MANJI: No, but they come out of the prisons, but those prisons are turned
into mosques. Where radical preaching takes place. This is why, as I
think more about your question at the very top of this show, is it a
narrative about France today, or is it a narrative about, you know, the
global sort of spread of Islam and what`s happening in its name? I think
the fact that, you know, these brothers were in some way radicalized by
Yemen, and that ISIS has come out of -- not just those places, but also the
prisons and that these brothers spent all this time in prisons. I`m
connecting the dots right now. And I`m thinking that the path to
radicalization for these two, not for everybody, for these two, may have
been the fact that they were, you know, they were subject to this kind of
preaching in jails, which is where they met their mentor. And when you
finally connect it back to the fact that as I said earlier, 60 percent of
the prison population in France is Muslim or of Muslim heritage, there`s a
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Ronan, let me come to you on exactly that. Because, you
know, again, if you think about sort of the experience of an average
American tourist in France and sort of our understanding of France as our
great initial ally and, you know, sort of - 18 century, and then we think
of France as a very free space. In fact, many African Americans expatting
to France during the period of Jim Crowe, in part because it felt like a
freer, less racialized space. But then to hear Irshad keep reminding us of
a kind of prison industrial complex that we don`t typically associate with
our understanding of the French, all happening at the same time, right?
Both that historical legacy of a free space and the contemporary legacy of
imprisonment? Does that square with you? With some of what .
FARROW: That`s exactly right. For so long, Melissa, the refrain was that
France and many other European countries were better integrated. That they
have the largest Muslim population here. And that it`s favorably compared
to racial integration in the United States. That there was less
radicalization. Obviously that is being called into question right now by
all the news we`re seeing. And it`s been institutionalized in a troubling
way. All the fault lines we are talking about here. 5 million Muslims in
France live in so-called sensitive urban zones. Which essentially what we
are hearing from police means that those are areas that are now passed over
for surveillance, that are considered something of a lost cause.
So exactly what you`re talking about, about these populations that are
inaccessible to law enforcement and leading to some of the tensions and the
violence, indeed, that we`re seeing right now. I would just close by
pulling back to you how big this problem is in the minds of Parisians, and
French people in general, Melissa. Eight percent of the French population
is Muslim right now. The perception about how much of the French
population is Muslim if you ask an average French individual, how much his
population is Muslim - 31 percent. And that says a lot.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yeah, yeah, we`ve seen similar statistics like that in
places around the world, but also here in the U.S. you see that
overestimation of the population. After is associated with stereo typing
and other types of problems.
Thank you so much, Ronan Farrow reporting from .
FARROW: And I don`t know if you could hear, Melissa, but we had shoutings,
stands by. We`ve had it all day. People when we talk about this, really
revealing exactly how tense this is. It`s really striking here.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ronan, thank you so much. I got to see you here in New York
just as you were heading off to Paris. And thank you for your reporting
there. Up next, I want to take a look at what happens when people aspire
to be martyrs. How do we then address this in our lives?
HARRIS-PERRY: The standoff between French authorities and the two brothers
suspected in the Charlie Hebdo massacre may have ended just as the brothers
intended when they were killed in a raid by French security forces.
According to the Associated Press, a local lawmaker who was inside the
command post during the siege told a French television station the brothers
said, they quote, want to die as martyrs. Joining me now from Nashville is
Jim Cavanaugh, NBC News, MSNBC analyst and former hostage negotiator and
retired ATF special agent in charge.
How does it complicate the problem, the question of sort of navigating with
the hostage taker if they have indicated that they prefer death or at least
are quite willing to die?
JIM CAVANAUGH, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, like we saw, they did, Melissa,
they did die. In fact, the brothers charged the tactical officers and the
man at the market at the Jewish Daily, he charged the tactical officers,
too, if you watch the videos. What you`ve had such a great discussion
there this morning. I`ve been listening to it. What a great panel. They
have the insight, but, you know, we watch these guys in law enforcement.
We listen to the intelligence people, the scholars. We tried to get inside
these people`s heads. But these guys are so classic, so classic. Al
Qaeda, recruitment. People that have been recruited by these agents of
influence. And you`ve laid it out in your discussion, I think you spot on.
And it takes these tracks, you know, especially in the ex-patriot
community, in a country like France, where the Muslim population has a lot
of trouble with the people, with the government, where economic issues --
people search for a meaning. They want out of that. They want to get out
of that. So it starts with the search of people for a change. How do they
come to grips with the way they`re being treated in society? And so they
search for something. And they search for religion.
But they get the agent of influence. They don`t get religion. They get
this terrorist fake preacher, which in this case they got a janitor as a
phony preacher. And as your other guests talked about, the prison. So if
they had gotten to the imam at the mosque who would have - really taught
them religion, they wouldn`t have got to the terrorists. And then that
fulfills a need for them. Because religion transcends the centuries and it
transcends national boundaries. And so they go to their identity, which
they can grab. And then they go to the second thing which lot of people
have. Young people have, too. You know, the same reason people join the
military or the police, to be heroes in the community, to help the
community, to sacrifice for the community.
CAVANAUGH: So, these two things coalesce. But al Qaeda and its agents of
influence have learned how to exploit it. And they`ve done it around the
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s an interesting point. That precisely that question of
being willing to sacrifice oneself, of carrying about one`s community,
about being bigger than time. Those are exactly the things that we see in
a civil rights movement, that we see in non-violent direct actions, that we
tend to hold up. And in certain ways, those are also when twisted, the
same kinds of things that lead to this willingness to die, in this case,
while killing others as opposed to making change through nonviolent direct
action. So it`s important - it`s like - Thank you so much for joining us.
It`s quite an intense moment. I appreciate you, Jim Cavanaugh in
Nashville, Tennessee, thank you. We`re going to go live to France for an
update from a team of reporters there for NBC News on top of the hour, and,
of course, my panel still has much more to say. Please stay with us.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: Good morning again from New York. I`m
A violent week in France that left 20 people dead culminated yesterday in
near simultaneous raids on a kosher market in Paris where a man had taken
several people hostage, and on a printing factory outside the city where
the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people at a satirical magazine
were holed up.
Now, at this hour in France, police are searched for the suspected
accomplice of Amedy Coulibaly, who police say shot dead a police officer on
Thursday and killed four hostages in a kosher market in Paris yesterday.
Before being killed himself by police.
And nearly the same time as police raided the market, police outside Paris
stormed a printing factory and killed Said and Cherif Kouachi, who had
evaded police for two days after allegedly killing 12 people at the offices
of the satirical magazine, "Charlie Hebdo".
The attack of the magazine is believed to be retribution for the magazine`s
publishing of offensive cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Cherif
Kouachi told a French media outlet on a Friday that he was sent by al Qaeda
in Yemen. A member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula also took credit
for the attacks.
The Kouachi brothers had been known to counterterrorism officials. They
were reportedly on the U.S.-no-fly list for years and one, Cherif, had
served a prison term on terrorism charges for recruiting French nationals,
to fight for al Qaeda in Iraq.
French officials say the brothers were connected to Coulibaly, the suspect
in the Thursday police shooting and the Friday hostage taking of the kosher
Coulibaly reportedly claimed that the attacks were synchronized.
French President Francois Hollande has called for unity in preparation for
a massive unity rally in Paris tomorrow underway. Hollande, along with the
leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey and others are expected to
On Friday, President Obama spoke about the attacks in a speech in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: France is our oldest ally.
I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you
today, stands with you tomorrow. We bereave with you. We fight alongside
you to uphold our values, the values that we share, universal values that
bind us together as friends and as allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Joining us live now from Paris, NBC News correspondent Ron
Ron, have there been new developments in the story or understanding of the
relationship between the suspect at large and the other three who are now
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS: The short answer is no. There is not much more about
the relationships between these four individuals. And that`s perhaps the
thing that authorities here are most interested in trying to learn.
First, they want to apprehend the woman, of course, who is still at large.
But they want to understand exactly who these people know, in addition to
each other. Is this a viable "terror cell", quote/unquote? Were they
really connected to al Qaeda in Iraq?
And Coulibaly said that he, for example, was working on behalf of ISIS. At
least that`s what he said to French media at the moment of the attack or
before the attack. And ISIS and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are not
-- are at odds.
So, it just doesn`t make sense they would be working together for this
competing, or if you will, organization.
So, the question is, do they have real ties to people outside of this
country or inside of this country who directed this? And if they did,
that`s a big problem. That`s a bigger problem perhaps than if they were
inspired by this or acted alone, or more as what we`ve been calling lone
So, those relationships and the capability that those relationships suggest
I think are some of the biggest questions that the authorities have here.
HARRIS-PERRY: Ron Allen in Paris, thank you for your continued reporting.
At the table here in New York, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the
Arab Association of New York. Michael Kay, foreign affairs reporter and
former senior British officer. Irshad Manji was the founder of the Moral
Courage Project. And Charlie Sennott, cofounder of the GlobalPost, the
executive director of the Ground Truth Project.
In the break, Mike, we were talking about kind of the question of where
Europe is in this moment related to questions of identity, and then how
those questions are then connected to, as Ron was saying, whether or not
these are individuals acting in perceived be solidarity or an actual
relationship with these terrorist organizations?
MICHAEL KAY, FORMER SENIOR BRITISH OFFICER: Yes, I think there was a
moment just over 300 years ago called Westphalia Treaty, and that was very
important in European history where Europe decided it was no longer going
to be based on religious ideal. It was going to be based on sovereign
ideals. That`s the moment it went from being Christian or Muslim and it
decided people will identify themselves as a Frenchman or a Brit or as a
I don`t think the Middle East has been through that moment yet. And when
we`re looking at our own foreign policies, we have to understand where we
are in our evolution versus where we`re trying to engage with in their
And Egypt is a classic example. Egypt has been through the Westphalia
moment, in my opinion, with the President Morsy, who is very much of the
Islamic faith. And the way he ran the country, the people he put in power,
the ministers of economy, the ministers of security, it was all about their
faith prior -- before their actual ability to run that department.
And I think Egypt chose to be an Egyptian rather than to be a Muslim. I
think that`s what the U.S. should be using as their strategic both in North
Africa or in the Middle East.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s an interesting question.
CHARLIE SENNOTT, GLOBALPOST: It took place with to Egyptian 2,000 years
ago, 5,000. Depending on how you measure it. I don`t know if I would
agree with that.
KAY: In terms of democracy.
HARRIS-PERRY: It`s an interesting question about the central identity,
because, Linda, I think in the U.S., we tend to think of the move towards
the secularization as coexisting with religious pluralism, right?
Even if imperfectly, at least in theory, right, that in the U.S. you could
have a public secularism but that people are allowed to practice their
faith. And that part of what happened in France where racial identity is
not acknowledged, where religious identity is not acknowledged, and yet,
there are nonetheless that decision towards French identity still ends up
sort of shoving down other identities, rather than incorporating them. Or
am I missing them?
LINDA SARSOUR, EXEC. DIR. ARAB AMERICAN ASSOC. NY: It`s the otherization
of people. We have that here in the United States. Yes, I can practice my
faith in the United States. I can wear hijab. I can work for the
government if I wanted to.
But I fill feel like an other. And my community has been otherized in this
And the thing about Islam, we believe we are part of a global family. We
are part of something called the uma (ph), right? So we do have a tie --
we feel we have a connection to a black Muslim in Sudan. And we have a
connection to an Iraqi Muslim. And then this idea of when there`s
oppression anywhere in the world, my question is always ,and there`s never
a justification for wanton violence. I don`t care ever, right?
SARSOUR: But the question is why doesn`t anyone go to the root of the
problem? What cause someone to want to kill themselves and die? What has
to happen -- what kind of condition do you and your community live in?
When we looked at suicide bombings, when we look at this in the intifada,
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, do you ever see a Saudi prince committing
suicide bombings? Do you see a doctor who is a multimillionaire living in
a villa doing it? You always find the poorest and the lowest --
SENNOTT: Except for Osama bin Laden who is the son of a millionaire.
SARSOUR: But Osama bin Laden was sending the poorest. Osama bin Laden
himself wasn`t the one committing the acts --
HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is an interesting question. So let me ask about
this a bit. When we hear terrorism in the U.S. we start thinking about
particular frameworks that our frameworks of experience with terrorism,
early in the week when I heard the story, I thought, this feels like the
Boston marathon. Like, you know, later in the week it felt like 9/11, like
in terms of the way we think about this.
Is there a framework that is the right to be thinking about?
SENNOTT: I don`t know if it`s the right one to think about, but Boston is
any hometown. Marathon bombings were in my city, and we had that Boston
Strong moment that we now see in Paris. Be not afraid. "Je Suis Charlie"
is like wonderful movement. And I think a wonderful way to counter this
But when you think about terrorism, I`ve covered this in the cities I`ve
lived in, Boston, London, the subway bombings, Madrid, the train bombings,
Jerusalem, I lived for years through the bus bombings. When you live in a
place, whether from there or not, you experience these bombings in a
different way. When you are from there, it becomes even deeper.
What I want to point out is here let`s flip the question around. The
martyrs were those who were executed in their news meetings. The martyrs
in this case are the people who risked their lives through freedom of
expression to take on something they believed in.
Now, it was truth to power with laughter, truth to power that was sometimes
crude and insulting to religion, which I don`t personally like, but I love
the right to see it. That`s what I love. I think this is an attack on my
community, our community for our journalists here, because, you know, we
lost a colleague.
Jim Foley was beheaded by ISIS this year. He was with us at "GlobalPost".
He was brutally, brutally treated before he was beheaded with two other
What I think is happening right now is an attack on freedom of expression
that is concerted. Do we know there`s a cell in Paris? I don`t know.
That`s a complicated question. Do we know what motivated them? I don`t
But there`s a trend. There`s a new opening --
HARRIS-PERRY: So, you`re stepping back and looking at the broad --
SENNOTT: I think there`s a new front in the war on freedom of expression.
I think there`s a new front from terrorism that is let`s go after the
messengers. Let`s kill the messengers.
IRSHAD MANJI, MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: And yet Charlie, yet. Over the last
several years I have received countless messages from young Muslims around
the world who have said, you know, whatever cartoons I may be offended by,
I am way more offended by the violence that is committed in the name of our
So, free expression, through and through and they have even made the point
routinely that their right and ability to expression dissent, let`s say
with foreign policy, is dependent on other people`s, you know, freedom of
HARRIS-PERRY: Right, right. Even with them with whom we profoundly and
HARRIS-PERRY: You know, last week we sat on the show and asked could we
think of 2015 as the year of talk. We asked whether or not we were
actually ready to have conversations with people who we find distasteful,
people who we dislike, and people who at the end of it, we still do not
come into agreement with, and yet the power that stuck with us.
I promise more. We`re going to talk more about this topic when we come
back. We`re not leaving you today.
HARRIS-PERRY: On Wednesday, as France was jolted by a three day terror
incident and a manhunt in Paris, Nigeria faced an act of terrorism so
brutal that it`s being called the most deadly terror attacks in world
history. The Nigerian terror group Boko Haram may have killed 2,000 people
in a small city on the northern border of the country. "The Guardian"
reports most of the victims are children, women, and the elderly, unable to
escape when insurgents invaded the town.
Many survivors of the attack fled to nearby Lake Chad, where some have
drowned and others have remained trapped on small, unstable islands, facing
starvation, cold and disease. Wednesday`s attack follows an assault four
days earlier in which Boko Haram overran a military base that was a center
of the multinational operation to fight the group. And it marks an
escalation of Boko Haram`s ongoing insurgency to amass territory in
Joining me now from Washington, D.C. is Aki Peritz, who is counterterrorism
analyst and author of "Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism
Campaigns that killed Bin Laden and Devastated al Qaeda."
Aki, help me a little bit here. Is part of what`s -- I mean, obviously
whenever we`re reporting breaking news, other items are going to fall off
the agenda. We have been very focused on what is going on in France. But
is it also because we somehow see Nigeria as a civil war rather than an act
of terrorism? Help me to understand how 2,000 people are killed, mostly
civilians and children, women, and it barely come into the consciousness of
AKI PERITZ, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, it`s actually relatively simple
reason. It`s because there are no reporters and very few individuals
reporting from that specific area.
You remember that part of eastern Nigeria is quite sparsely populated.
It`s a kind of a difficult place. Boko Haram has been committing all kinds
of massacres for the last couple of years and beyond in that area. It`s
also a sort of area between Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, which --
there just aren`t many people reporting from.
So, when you have something like the Paris shootings where you have
hundreds of reporters and you have bureau chiefs, you have European news
agencies there, almost immediately, you can report on it.
But, unfortunately, in Africa and especially in eastern Nigeria, you really
don`t have people talking about it.
Another -- sorry, another issue is African news really gets short stripped
here in the Western media. So, for example, since the `90s, there`s been a
civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which claimed up to 5
million people. I`ve never really seen it on TV. It`s one of the worst
wars in memory.
HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us. Don`t go anywhere.
Let me come to you on that, Linda. You were saying in the break that
there`s a way in which even as we`re having conversations about who are
victims of terrorisms and who are the terrorists, that this is indicative
of a kind of blindness around how we think about this question.
SARSOUR: I think we have selective outrage on who are the victims -- 2,000
people, yes, there`s not a lot of reporters there, but we do have U.N.
posts there. Right? We have Amnesty -- we know what`s going on there.
I read about the Congo. I read about Central African republic all the
time. I also think we don`t have the same conversations we would have
2,000 people massacred in Gaza. We weren`t having the same conversation.
For me personally, also looking at when we talk about ISIS and the
beheading of journalists, for example, horrific. But ISIS and Muslim
extremists, right, are killing more Muslims than they are people in the
West. And we never have those conversations. I mean, who are the real
victims that are -- who are the majority of victims?
HARRIS-PERRY: Let me go back to Aki, just one second. And I promise I
will get back here.
I want to go back for a second because I want to talk about vulnerability
here. It seems in addition to the question of media resources there may
will less of a sense of vulnerability. It happens in Paris. It may feel
like it could happen in New York, for example. But the fact that the very
first installation that was attack by Boko Haram before going into small
town was military installation that`s being supported by U.K., U.S. and
French military, it makes me wonder, is there any reason to think in a week
in which this was occurring with Boko Haram, in a week in which this is
occurring in Paris, that there is something going on with global terrorists
that is about heightened vulnerability for all?
PERITZ: Well, that`s the thing about terrorists and terrorism, is that it
can sort of be morphed into anything. There are a lot of terrible things
happening all over the world, all the time.
So, for example, in the same day the Charlie Hebdo attack occurred, there`s
a suicide attack in Yemen that killed 30 people. It almost did not make it
into the news, except for those who actually follow this.
As we all know, that the Yemenis are fighting a multi-front civil war as
well. So, there are all kinds of atrocities like this happening on a
pretty regular basis in that area.
In terms of Nigeria, remember that as you said that on Monday, the Boko
Haram organization overran a military organization. And remember that
these are people, these are not civilians, these are troops, armed troops
and according to reports, is that they actually, the troops kept fighting
until they ran out of ammunition. They had to get reinforcements from
Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and they were not forthcoming.
So, what do you do if you`re a soldier and you`re out of ammunition? You
PERITZ: And so, therefore, Boko Haram had taken over a military operation
and they`re just slaughtering civilians in their own villages.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you so much for joining us this morning.
And up next, the apparent bombing of an NAACP office in Colorado this week.
HARRIS-PERRY: We want to take you to Paris where France`s interior
minister is speaking about the security preparations.
FRANCE INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): Several security areas
where they installed through the itinerary. Parking will be forbidden to
all cars and all itineraries. A large secured perimeter will be installed
between the (INAUDIBLE).
The nearby subway stations will be closed from 11:00 a.m. in order to avoid
crowding. (INAUDIBLE) will be closed starting at noon for the same
reasons. The other stations, subway stations will be closed as appropriate
in coordination with the subway system to facilitate dispersion. Public
transportation will be particularly watched in the capital.
Globally, ladies and gentlemen, 24 mobile units will be deployed, composed
of 2,500 men. The vigil plan will be kept at a high alert, and the
mobilization will allow us to continue the protection of sensitive places.
I think about press headquarters, all media headquarters, all churches or
confessional schools. And the 2,000 police will be mobilized in Paris and
around the Paris region.
I remind you that there will be rallies all around France from today,
700,000 of our fellow citizens marched all around the country in Toulouse,
Marseilles, (INAUDIBLE) which are cities like Paris, they will have rallies
Exceptional measures are being mobilized to ensure the safety of Israelis
under the prefects whom I`ve asked to be extremely vigilant. The highest
authorities of the state, the president of the republic first minister, as
well as other heads of states from other countries will participate with
So, these are exceptional measures given the scope of the rally, its
meaning and symbolism, as well context. So we are taking these measures to
ensure the safety of this rally that will allow those who wish to come
together and think about those who lost their lives associated by terrors.
And I thank you. And if you --
HARRIS-PERRY: That was France`s interior minister giving an update on
security preparations for the unity march tomorrow.
I do want to turn back for a moment to a domestic incident -- an explosion
Tuesday at the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP that is the subject of
an investigation by the FBI, which is considering all possible motives for
the bombings. And the FBI says an improvised explosive device detonated
next to a gas can by an exterior wall of the building that houses the NAACP
chapter, around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. No one was injured in the
explosion which caused only minimal damage to the building.
A spokesperson for the FBI said the device did not appear to have been
detonated accidentally. Friday, the FBI released this composite sketch of
a possible person of interest who was described as a balding white man,
approximately 40 years old, who was is driving a 2000 or older model white
The FBI is also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the bombing.
So, Charlie, you know, I first heard because people on social media was
saying, hey, no one in the mainstream is covering this.
HARRIS-PERRY: And we`ll have more on it tomorrow. But I thought it
somehow fit into this conversation about how we think about what we ought
to be afraid of.
SENNOTT: I think it does fit in. And, you know, to Linda`s point, like no
one paid attention to what was happening, the slaughter in Nigeria, to the
extent where I`ve just recently done reporting there. We were writing
You know, this is not getting covered. That`s true.
But I do want to say: the point is too broad. We have journalist on our
team at "GlobalPost" and at the Ground Truth Project who every day are out
there reporting on the innocent people who are brutalized by terrorism.
But what I would say is qualitatively different is now it`s an attack on
the people who risk their lives to go and tell those stories. So people
like Jim Foley who is there on the ground in Iraq trying to bring home the
truth of the war and in Syria trying to bring home the truth of.
When we find out the terrorist element that we are struggling with is now
targeting them, us, the people who do this, I think there`s a qualitative
difference because it will really hurt our ability to understand what`s
going on. If we don`t have people on the ground, if we don`t have people
there going for the ground truth, then we`re not going to know what`s
happening in the world.
That`s why I put it at a higher level of concern because we all need to
really think about what happened in Paris in the context of an attack on
freedom of expression.
HARRIS-PERRY: Charlie Sennott, thank you for joining us this morning.
SENNOTT: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: In part of what you said, we`ll continue to have
conversation about as we move forward.
The rest of my panel is sticking around.
I do want to let you know tomorrow on this program, we`re going to have
more on the bombing of the NAACP offices in Colorado. The NAACP national
president, Cornell William Brookes will join us.
Also tomorrow, my interview with Golden Globe nominee "Selma" director Ava
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AVA DUVERNAY, GOLDEN GLOBES: The idea that anything I`m doing is being
looked upon with any kind of pride. You know, I said to one of my key
collaborators about this as we set about to do this work, Paul Garnes, my
producing partner, I want to really do something special with this. I have
a lot of goals with it. But one of them is to make black folk proud of it
-- black folk proud of this history and to really walk away with a sense of
care and tenderness for this time and everyone who fought for freedom
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS-PERRY: Hours after the attack on the French satirist magazine
"Charlie Hebdo, demonstrators in Paris and other European cities gathered
in public spaces in a show of resistance to the attackers and a show of
solidarity for those attacked. They held a national moment of silence and
raised pens and signs reading "Je Suis Charlie" or in English, "I am
Charlie". A phrase that quickly became a trending hashtag on Twitter.
The same was done in the AFP newsroom, part of an effort to offer support
for the stricken magazine. On Thursday night the Eiffel Tower went dark in
tribute to the 12 people murdered in Wednesday`s attack. The unity rally
will be led tomorrow in Paris by the French president, a rally that will be
attended by the leaders of Spain, Germany, Italy and Great Britain.
A senior administration official tells NBC News that Ambassador Jane
Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to France, will also attend.
We`ve seen similar outpourings here recently in the U.S. with the Boston
Strong public rallying cry after the 2013 marathon bombing. And some might
even argue that insisting that we go see "The Interview" after hackers
threatened terror attacks on theaters that showed that Sony film, that that
was an act of public defiance. It obviously means something to a lot of
people to show solidarity in the wake of a terror attack or threat and in
So, I want to explore that a little bit now. You know, Charlie was making
the point that part of what happens here is journalists are attacked. And
then journalists are part of what lead the expression of, wait a minute,
you know, we -- I am Charlie. We are all together. Is that sort of
movement of solidarity kind of a counterterrorism effort? Like, we will
not be afraid.
KAY: I think it sends a message. A lot of discussions are what are the
messages that are said? What is the message -- you know, a self
sacrificing martyr. When they`re carrying out that act and perpetrating
the act, what message is that sending to us in the West -- the way that
tens of thousands came out on the streets of France afterwards is an act of
defiance. It`s a message to say we`re not affected by this and we`re
rallying together. I think that`s important.
The strategy for countering this is an interesting one. We talk about the
technical aspects in terms of intelligence, in terms of the ability to look
and listen. But I think the real answer lies in humanitarian intelligence.
It`s in the intelligence community. And it`s establishing those
relationships within the Muslim population within France and in this
context, but more broadly, to self police.
And that`s something I would love to hear Linda`s thoughts on in terms of
having people of influence and power within the Muslim community actually
speak out against atrocities. So for example, have we heard from Pakistan
on these atrocities in France? Have we heard from Saudi Arabia? Have we
had condemnation regionally? And that`s something important.
HARRIS-PERRY: Interestingly enough. The Nigerian president, Goodluck
Jonathan, speck out against the terrorist attacks in France, and did not
mention Boko Haram in his own nation.
The challenge for me around solidarity isn`t about my anger and disgust at
the death, you know, that these 12 would be killed. It`s that it would be
impossible for me to say "I am Charlie Hebdo" given some of what has
I want to read to you from -- this is Arthur Chu writing for "The Daily
Beast". He writes, "The editors, writers, and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo
were human beings with families, friends and loved ones. Their death
should be mourned for that reason. But no more so than the Sodesko
building maintenance man or the two police officers, cops, who are also
killed in the crossfire."
Like, it`s their humanity that is the problem.
SARSOUR: And the difference between the others that you mentioned, this
Boston Strong, or even in Australia, the "I`ll ride with" you kind of
campaign is that I am not going to say I am Charlie, because I am no not
Charlie. I will fight for Charlie Hebdo and all cartoonist rights to draw
whatever cartoon, offending whoever they want. But I am not racism. I am
not big bigotry, because that`s what Charlie Hebdo was for me and what it
was for my faith, right?
So, I`m -- I don`t -- I`m not going to act on criticism of them. But I`m
not going to say -- it`s like me saying I`m "The New York Post". I`m not
going to say that. It`s important for me, like, Je Suis Ahmed, the police
officer. A noble man who took oath to protect the people of France was the
first man to be shot down by his own fellow Muslims. And that for me is
who I want to be.
And I want to be -- why can`t we just be French? Why can`t we be I am
French, too, versus for me, I couldn`t bring myself to that place.
MANJI: "I am Charlie" because I love irreverence and because irreverence
is key, in my view, to independent thinking. Whether it is about Islam,
whether it is about fascism, whether it is about, you know, racial
discrimination. So, I think, you know, the messaging here -- go ahead.
KAYE: "Charlie Hebdo", he went -- he mocked Catholicism, Judaism.
HARRIS-PERRY: But I do want to ask the question. We`ll take a break, but,
you know, this is slightly different. But on the question, for example, of
bystander responsibility for sexual assault on college campuses, the White
House came out with a -- it`s on us campaign, in which they were asking
people to stand and say it`s on us, sexual assault.
Well, I`m a sexual assault survivor. I can never wear a t-shirt that says,
it`s on us, because to do so would be the idea to take on it`s on me as a
So, I guess what I`m asking is, as we do solidarity, can we say, of course,
I will support Charlie Hebdo without saying I am him. Of course, it would
never be OK to kill, but I also, I don`t -- so much more. More on this.
We`re going to go live to Paris as soon as we come back.
HARRIS-PERRY: We`ve been discussing the solidarity being shown in Paris
and throughout Europe after the murders of 12 people in an assault at the
satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" on Wednesday and subsequent attacks
believed to be connected to it.
I want to go live now to Paris, France, and NBC News correspondent Chapman
Bell for a better understanding of what we can expect tomorrow at the
planned unity rally -- Chapman.
CHAPMAN BELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, hi.
I`m here in front of the supermarket, one of the hostage situations from
yesterday, where four people lost their lives. There`s an outpouring here
of people coming to pay their respects, and actually all across France
today, there had been just impromptu gatherings of people, tens of
thousands of people. And in Paris, we`re expecting hundreds of thousands.
One number I`ve heard is 700,000 people taking to the streets here in Paris
in solidarity, in unity for -- to remember these people killed in these
horrific accidents or horrific incidents, I should say, over the last few
Security will be tight, as it is all across Paris and it has been for the
last few days. World leaders for several European countries are expected
to be in attendance. The U.S. ambassador to Paris will also be there, as a
huge gathering of people to remember everything that`s happened over the
last few days -- Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: Chapman Bell in Paris, France, thank you.
I want to go to Aki Peritz who is still with us, our counterterrorism
And to simply ask you, basically, given that now there will be a large
gathering of people, of people showing solidarity, is there any particular
heightened concern in this moment, given what we`ve seen over the past
PERITZ: I would suggest that the French government should take every
precaution to make sure this rally which is going to attract all kinds of
leaders from across the globe, as well as tens of thousands, if not
hundreds of thousands of regular citizens, make sure these things are as
safe as possible because now you`ve created a very large, very static, very
accessible media-centric target for anybody who would like to do harm or
violence to further attacks on France.
And so, I would suggest that people should be at a heightened awareness. I
personally don`t like being in large crowds for this sort of reason,
especially in political issues. But I`m sure the French government is
going to pull out all the stops to make sure everything is secure.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, let`s come back because this unity rally is meant to
show this sense of "I am Paris, I am France" -- which again for me it`s
much easier, very easy to say compared to "I am Charlie Hebdo", only
because of the particular history, for you it`s a history of irreverence.
For me, it felt more angry, nasty than that. But which clearly never
should allow this kind of violence.
And so, I guess I wonder if the act of standing in a public space, knowing
there is the possibility of increased violence is, in fact, sort of an act
of courage. We will stand here. You won`t scare us away from being in the
crowd with our fellow countrymen and women.
SARSOUR: For a lot of communities of color, every day living is courage.
You know, being black in the United States and walking down the street is
courage for me.
I think one of the things as an American, and I always look at thing from
my American perspective is that, here we are calling for a unity rally,
right? There`s going to be hundreds of thousands of people. In our
country here, we have elected officials and newspaper editorials calling
for the unwarranted surveillance.
Congressman Peter King, former Mayor Giuliani, saying we`ve got to get into
the mosques in the U.S. We`ve got to up our counterterrorism efforts in
Muslim communities. So, while we`re trying to create unity and bring
people together around this horrific attack, in the United States, we
continue to divide communities and otherized Muslims in this country.
And what that does is the impact that it has, the fear that`s in our
community right now, the community that I live in every single day, that
walk in the streets, Muslims in southwest Brooklyn are horrified. They`re
like, please let this pass, you know, worried about the government, but
also the potential backlash that can come against us.
MANJI: Just want to quickly say that, you know, what I hope for tomorrow,
Melissa, is unity is not confused with uniformity, because in France, there
is still very much a dogma -- not just a philosophy, but a dogma -- that,
you know, you are not to be presenting yourself in any way, shape, or form
as a person of faith. And that, obviously, you know, reduces pluralism, it
reduces diversity, it reduces integrity, the wholeness of an individual.
HARRIS-PERRY: Unity without uniformity. I am French. I am France. I am
Paris. But I`m also many things.
MANJI: I am many things at once.
HARRIS-PERRY: Aki Peritz in Washington, D.C., thank you so much.
PERITZ: Thank you.
HARRIS-PERRY: Attorney Eric Holder is headed to France. More on that,
HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back.
I want to bring in now from Washington, NBC News White House correspondent
Kristen, talk to me about the administration`s response to what has
unfolded this week in France. And among other things, we know that
Attorney General Eric Holder is traveling to Paris to attend an
international ministerial meeting there tomorrow.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Melissa.
We know that those talks are going to focus on the threat of violent
extremism and also foreign fighters. Of course, those are two key
characteristics that we saw in these attacks in Paris. Those meetings come
after a weekend in which President Obama has been briefed regularly on the
ongoing investigation in Paris, and also the security posture here in the
We know that federal authorities have urged state and local officials to
increase their awareness. We also know that security has been increased at
French consulates in major cities across the United States, cities like New
York, Washington, Boston, Atlanta. The Secret Service is stepping up its
patrols for a period of time. So, that will continue.
Important to point out, Melissa, there is no known threat here in the
United States. But, obviously, federal officials remain vigilant as they
continue to monitor the ongoing developments out of France -- Mellissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: So, Kristen, we heard the president say that France is our
oldest ally. I`d like to listen to that and then ask you a quick question
Oh, I`m sorry. I don`t have it. But the president said, France is our
oldest ally and he wanted the people of France to know that the U.S. stands
And yet I don`t want us to forget -- that`s going back to the 18th century.
Post-9/11, there was some tension between our nations. If you remember,
Congress started French fries freedom fries because of a sense of a lack of
solidarity. Again, we`ve talked a lot about complicated pasts here.
As we move forward from this immediate moment of grieving, do we expect to
be kind of lockstep in line in terms of our relationship about
counterterrorism or do we expect some of these fault lines to open again?
WELKER: I think it`s a really important point, Melissa. The president has
been so focused on expressing the United States` solidarity with France
despite that very complicated history that you just mapped out. And in
large part because, remember, France is a key ally in the fight against
ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest making
the point over and over again this week that French fighters have flown
alongside American fighters.
So, while there is that complicated past, certainly the two nations have
moved forward in lockstep to some extent in this new fight against
extremists in the form of ISIS. So, I do anticipate that that will really
shape the future of this relationship moving forward, particularly in the
wake of these attacks, Melissa, as we were just discussing. Attorney
General Eric Holder is going over to France to hold discussions. The
United States along with not only France but other European allies have to
address this threat together -- Melissa.
HARRIS-PERRY: NBC`s Kristen Welker at the White House this morning --
HARRIS-PERRY: Irshad, not much time, but I want to give you a moment to
reflect and weigh in here.
MANJI: I`m thinking about it all still, I mean real time. Yes.
HARRIS-PERRY: Linda, as we think about the U.S. as our role, as we -- our
relationship with France, nation state, but also communities to
communities, your reflection from you on that?
SARSOUR: I mean, the first country to recognize independence of the United
States was actually North Africa, Morocco. I mean, we keep talking about
our allies. And I think, for us, for me as an American and looking at me
as an American or looking at a French Muslim, as a French Christian or a
French Jew, this idea that -- of pluralism, that we`re all equal.
I think it`s really important in any conversation that we have that an
anytime an incident happens, that we really need to look at all the details
and we need to -- we can`t zero in and focus on this obsession we have with
-- and this term that I don`t want -- that I don`t use, which is Islamic
terrorism, right? I don`t --
HARRIS-PERRY: Terrorism is --
SARSOUR: Terrorism could be anything or Muslims can commit terrorism. But
terrorism can`t be Islamic, for me.
So, this -- it reflects on the kind of conversation I see on the news, what
my young people are watching.
And even back to the NAACP really quickly, this idea that there`s a white
man in our country who has the capability of detonating bombs and he`s just
-- I don`t know where he is right now. And if it was an Arab or a Muslim,
would our country be taking the necessary security steps we should be
taking. So, the context for me is really important.
HARRIS-PERRY: Michael, last 30 seconds?
KAY: Yes, I think the problem is holistic. The counter needs to be
holistic. We have to compartmentalize these issues and not apply it all
with a broad brush.
We`ve got to look at our own foreign policy. And Kristen from the White
House just talked about how France was part of the military strikes. You
know, what does collateral do in situations like this?
Then, we`ve got to go back to the mosques. What are the imams teaching in
To Irshad`s point early on in the program, the prisons -- is it a good
opportunity for reform?
There are so many different facets of this we need to look at individually
and look at the holistic approach.
MANJI: Ten seconds?
HARRIS-PERRY: I can`t. Thank you to our --
MANJI: Statue of Liberty, its origin is the Middle East. Yes, it was
given to America by France but its origin is the Middle East.
HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to my guests this morning. Linda Sarsour, and
Michael Kay, also to Irshad Manji. Thank you.
That is our show for today. And thanks to you at home for watching. I`m
going to see you tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. On tomorrow`s
program, my interview with Golden Globe nominee and director of "Selma",
And now it`s time for a preview with "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT".
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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