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‘Crime against culture too’

51The United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, has denounced in the strongest possible terms the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.
“These attacks may constitute a crime against humanity and certainly one which viciously and deliberately targeted sites of arts and leisure where people come together to enjoy their cultural rights,” she said in a statement issued in Geneva yesterday.
“The language used in the reported claim of responsibility for the 13 November attacks by the so-called ‘Islamic State’, labeling the rock fans at Bataclan as ‘pagans’ and the city of Paris as the ‘capital of prostitution and vice’ demonstrates the hateful worldview motivating this violence,” Bennoune stressed.

For the human rights expert, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) when beginning the Bataclan massacre, as has been reported, “grossly misuses a religious pronouncement sacred to hundreds of millions of Muslim believers around the world who abhor such bloodshed, and increases the likelihood of hate and discrimination against them in response,” she said.
The expert also called on the international community to urgently take all steps needed to assist French authorities in ensuring that any perpetrators still at large are brought to justice in accordance with international law.
“We must all cooperate to protect those around the world who face similar attacks from such gangs of death simply for participating in cultural life,” she noted.
Bennoune appealed to civil society around the world “to unite in exposing and opposing the fundamentalist ideology motivating such atrocities, as many have done in Muslim majority countries for years, and to support those resisting such fundamentalist assaults on cultural life on the frontlines from West Africa to South Asia and beyond.”