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Millions Rally for Unity in France; Muslim Leader Condemns Paris Attack; Imagine a World
Aired January 12, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): And we are live from Paris tonight as the White House explains why they didn't send President
Obama here or a high-level officials. The Elysee Palace said to me that they didn't mind that they appreciated the Obama administration being out
front and center from the minute the attacks happened.
And tonight in his first interview with the foreign press since the attacks, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tells me the assailants did not act
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANUEL VALLS, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): No doubt there was complicity and networks and maybe finance also. I don't really
believe in the idea of a lone wolf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And the rector of the great mosque in Paris, Dr. Dalil Boubakeur, calls for radical reform of Islam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALIL BOUBAKEUR, RECTOR, GREAT MOSQUE OF PARIS (through translator): Today we want to appeal for a change in religious thinking in Islam. We
abandon political Islam, that we should not turn it into a policy, but to keep it as a religion.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program live from Paris tonight. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
One day after this country saw nearly 4 million people turn out onto the streets, 1.5 million in Paris alone to say no to the terror attacks of
last Wednesday and the last several days and to say yes to a reaffirmation of French values, of democracy, of freedom of speech, of the freedom of
religion and tolerance and human rights for everyone. One day after that, the French government has ordered a stepped-up security presence all across
this country, some 10,000 military and even more thousands of police have come onto the streets to protect amongst other things Jewish schools,
mosques, newspapers and iconic landmarks like The Louvre museum.
Today I spoke to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who talked to me in the midst of this crisis. We met at his office in Paris, not far from where I
am now, as he has emerged from meetings with the president, the defense minister and all the other ministers who are trying to resolve what
happened here and make sure that it doesn't happen again.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister, thank you for joining me and welcome to the program.
Did you ever expect to see 4 million French people in the streets saying no to this kind of terror and violence?
VALLS (through translator): Of course. Not at all. But this reaction, this response, all the French people and by many other peoples,
in fact, there were many demonstrations and rallies elsewhere in the world. And it is an extraordinary, an unprecedented response. But really
commensurate with the attack leveled against France during four days.
AMANPOUR: We would like to know what the situation is right now.
Is there somebody still at large?
You have spoken of an accomplice.
Who are you looking for?
VALLS (through translator): Without a doubt there were three terrorists who committed these acts, these barbarous acts. But they have
links and accomplices. So we are doing everything we can -- well, there have already been arrests, people put in custody last week. But we are
doing everything we can to dismantle what appears to be a network or a larger group beyond these three terrorists.
AMANPOUR: Let me just try to be clear. Are you looking or do you believe that Hayat Boumeddiene, who the Turkish authorities say went to
Turkey before the attack and then to Syria, is she the accomplice?
VALLS (through translator): Well, one wants to be cautious about it and if there's information which is still under legal review and I can't
speak about it, but it would seem that this person left before the attack. But the links with the family members of the two other terrorists have been
And with the help of the Turkish authorities, which I'm sure will be forthcoming, we'll be able to get our hands on her.
AMANPOUR: And the other accomplices, are you looking for people who funded, who organized, who gave safe haven?
Or are you looking for somebody who actually pulled the gun and pulled the triggers during the attacks?
VALLS (through translator): Well, facts have been evolving. These two attacks are a picture of what terrorism threatens us today, individuals
who may act alone or may be fully radicalized or they've been trained in arms use abroad. This might be the case or two of them.
One of them maybe never went abroad, the one who attacked the kosher food store. But it's difficult at this stage to reply to that. I hope
that the inquiry will reveal these facts. But no doubt there was complicity and networks and maybe finance also. That conversation with the
journalists, that was referred to, I don't really believe in the idea of a lone wolf as was the case in Oslo and some years ago.
But that's different. But I think that we will see some links. But the inquiry's only beginning and we need to go fast and I want to say as
the president of the republic said to France, the threat is still there and we have to be very careful that there is no reaction to what has happened.
AMANPOUR: And lastly, on this particular issue, some believe that this could have been organized, directed from Al Qaeda or ISIS, in other
words a foreign terrorist group.
Do you believe that?
VALLS (through translator): At this stage, they have claimed these links, the two brothers which committed this barbarous act in "Charlie
Hebdo," they claim to be linked to Al Qaeda, the other one to the Islamic State. But we need to try and find out under what circumstances this has
happened and being financed. We can see that this kind of terrorism -- well, these are individuals who have much the same profile. They've been
delinquents and then they've been radicalized after being in prison. And they have acted with finance and complicity of people who have instructed
AMANPOUR: There are many questions as to how these three people managed to slip through your dragnet, slip through your surveillance.
You knew about them. They were on your radar.
How did they manage to slip through and did you have intelligence failures?
VALLS (through translator): Well, these are legitimate questions. The justice system will have to explain and the parliament, too, wants to
set up an information structure for this and the services of the Ministry of the Interior need to clarify this.
But it's a fairly complex situation. It's not only in our case all the countries in Europe and the United States, Australia, Canada and other
countries in the Maghreb (ph), for example. But in France, there are 1,400 people at least who are in these jihad network, 1,400. And 400 are on the
spot, 300 came back; several hundred want to go. Many French men have been killed there. And so all the information services, which I reformed when I
was in Ministry of the Interior. And I gave them additional facilities. We are -- (INAUDIBLE) on anti-terrorist law in the parliament with a big
majority. And so this whole arsenal will give us better facilities and means to track these hundreds of individuals and I've always said that we
are facing a threat which could strike us. It's not whether there's going to be an attack, but where and when. That was the point. And so we need
to see what the problems were, why we were unable to detect such-and-such an individual, but I would recall that the indications given by the
terrorist organizations for these people, these also hide people. People merge into society and one of these individuals not known to our services
for at least for being a threat, the third one, was basically known for common crimes.
So we need to understand why and we've frustrated five attacks in the last 2.5 years. And a number of people were arrested, having come back
from Syria or Iraq. They were kept in custody and they're in prison now. Why couldn't we find these other people? Unfortunately, you cannot reduce
risks to zero. But we do have to continue to track these networks.
AMANPOUR: What more needs to be done to improve, I don't know, the intelligence cooperation amongst the various branches?
Because you say one wasn't known; but he was, Coulibaly had been in prison for helping to try to release a terrorist. So he was known.
The Americans told us on Wednesday or Thursday that one of the Kouachis had been to Yemen in 2011. How did the French not know that?
VALLS (through translator): Well, we had need to (INAUDIBLE) this information and indeed there were journeys, trips to Yemen. We have this
information and these people were tracked by the services up to arrests. And one, you have to have proof and the kind of threat we face causes
difficulties to (INAUDIBLE). We have a lot of cooperation. I went out to meet the European ministers and Mr. Holder also, the secretary of state
from the -- and the representatives from Canada and Australia. They were all there with the minister of the interior and we have cooperation on
this. And I want (INAUDIBLE) Napolitano in Washington and we need to deepen this work and exchange information on it -- the Internet, on the
jihadist networks and how we can be more effective. But of course, it didn't prevent attempts, attacks (INAUDIBLE) happened in the U.S., in
Australia and Canada. So we need to tighten the network.
It is a major problem and the amendment to the American -- number one to the American Constitution doesn't (INAUDIBLE). But of course, in
prison, that's the challenge. That's where this radicalization is organized. And we need to get information from families. And they might
see one of the young children in many cases. There are dozens of minors who have left for Syria.
So we need to do this. There are hundreds and hundreds of Europeans, of Western Europeans, I'm not talking about those from Muslim or Arab
countries, but they are in Syria today. That is a threat, the most serious threat in terms of terrorism, which Europe has to face up to. It's the
worst that there has been for decades. So we need to continue to modernize, to strengthen services, our police and intelligence services
and, of course, our legislation.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Manuel Valls, thank you very much indeed for joining me tonight.
AMANPOUR: And we will have much more of this interview with the prime minister tomorrow. He spoke in an impassioned way about the defense of
Let's not forget that all this started on Wednesday with a full frontal assault on the freedom of the press, from Wednesday through Friday,
17 people were killed inside and outside the offices of "Charlie Hebdo," the police and the Jewish shoppers at the kosher market, at the Port de
And today, as for many days, the remaining staff of "Charlie Hebdo" are working really hard to bring out their next edition on time on
Wednesday. A million copies, they plan, 50 times their usually circulation. But this is fundamental for France and for the people and for
the freedom of the press. This is a story that has France in mourning, a nation galvanized and the world galvanized.
But it is a story of individual heartbreak, the families of all those who were gunned down have now to deal with their lives without those who
they loved and lost.
Jeannette Bougrab, the widow of Stephane Charbonnier, or Charb, the editor of "Charlie Hebdo," spoke to our colleagues at the BBC about how
shortly after she learned the news, she rushed to the scene, begging the police, pleading with them to let her reach her husband's body.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNETTE BOUGRAB, WIDOW OF STEPHANE CHARBONNIER: I didn't want to let my husband alone on -- I want to -- I was -- I would like to sleep with
-- in -- (INAUDIBLE) that he was (INAUDIBLE) have to do their work. But I didn't want to let alone my -- the body of my husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How long will all this global understanding and resolve for unity last? And what about France's Muslim community?
Next, I speak to the rector of the Grand Mosque here in Paris, who's called for a radical overhaul of his religion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE). Every time something like this happens, it happens in my religion's name and it -- my blood
boils, to be very honest with you. So I have traveled to show solidarity with the French people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was Moustafa (ph). He's a Muslim who now lives in London and travels here to Paris to attend the massive unity rally
yesterday. To show his respect that, as you heard, to show his revulsion at what was done, as he says, "Not in my name."
And we saw Fred Pleitgen yesterday find a Muslim woman who wrote across her chest, "I am Jewish" in memory of the Jews who were slaughtered
at the kosher market.
Today I went to the Grand Mosque here in Paris to talk to the rector there, Dr. Dalil Boubakeur. And I heard him say that his religion needed a
massive reform to root out this mutation, this deadly virulent form of Islam.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Boubakeur, welcome to the program.
BOUBAKEUR: Merci. Bonjour.
AMANPOUR: What does it say to you that more than 3 million people, nearly 4 million people came onto the streets?
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): It is a unique, an exceptional occasion for the population of France, coming together in Paris and
throughout France. In fact, since the liberation. Since 1945, there's never been so many people mobilized, wishing to express very strong
feelings, given recent events, when journalists at "Charlie Hebdo" were murdered and there were also four fatalities in a Jewish food store in
And all this really mobilized the whole of France against terrorism.
AMANPOUR: You called this action by French Muslims a barbaric attack on democracy and a new form of war.
But actually, Amedy Coulibaly says that he was born in France and so were the Kouachi brothers are French. They were radicalized here in this
country. There's a problem in your community.
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): These were children, young people who were abandoned, who were imprisoned. They had delinquency problems and
they were, bit by bit, trained on the basis of being in prison through charismatic leaders in order to be brought into a political form of Islam,
Islamism. And then they were induced to travel to Syria, to Iraq, to Afghanistan and they were recruited there by terrorist organizations such
as Al Qaeda, Daish, and other organizations, which are absolutely terrorist organizations and given the reaction of France to bomb targets in countries
where there is terrorism like Syria and Iraq, they were induce to react against France because of its policy of attacking terrorist centers in the
So they induced these people who were born in France to commit terrorist acts in France.
AMANPOUR: But how do you answer the fact that on Thursday, the day of mourning, some Muslim students refused to observe the minute of silence?
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): Yes. That is true. You are absolutely right. And we found that. We Muslims, who observe what's going
on and we see how fundamentalism has increased in France over a number of years, the Salafists, the movements, there are some imams who are in favor
of jihadism, in favor of fundamentalism, in favor of Wahhabism, the fourth school in Islam. And for years, they have been working in France and they
are exciting young people, whipping them up against the West and turning them into terrorists or at least people who can go to Syria.
AMANPOUR: What do you do as such a big Muslim leader here, the day after this massive demonstration?
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): Today we want to appeal for a change in religious thinking in Islam, that we abandon political Islam so we
should not turn into a policy but to keep it as a religion, a religion which doesn't ask people to kill anyone nor to carry out anti-Semitic acts
or anything political.
Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of tolerance, a religion in which people can live together, in which people can be brought up in
accordance with the ethics and morals of democracy. And it should be an example of humanism. True Islam is humanist.
AMANPOUR: The cartoons of "Charlie Hebdo," obviously, gave a lot of offense to some Muslims.
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): The cartoons and caricatures of "Charlie Hebdo" did shock a number of Muslims. And in all religions, there
are cartoons. But if there is a problem with cartoonists -- and there are cartoonists everywhere -- some cartoons, people agree with, and there are
some cartoons that people don't agree with or they don't like it. Well, then, let them go to the justice system.
If the caricature or cartoon touches sick minds, violent minds, terrorist people, it shocks them. And then they are the authors of murder
as the journalists in this case because normal Muslims don't propose killing journalists.
AMANPOUR: You talked about a reform necessary.
What do you expect from the imams across France?
What should they be doing?
Because one of these Kouachi brothers was radicalized by a man proclaiming himself to be an imam.
BOUBAKEUR (through translator): We want to reform the training of imams. We don't want to allow these imams just to be trained anywhere or
in Arabia, spouting fundamentalism. There are four schools in Islam, four ways in which Islam can be practiced. The fourth school, the Hanbali
school or the Wahhabi school, which is dangerous and many imams are trained with this dangerous view of Islam, and we say no, not at all.
BOUBAKEUR: We don't want that our young people go to these countries where Wahhabis is taught, is teaching by these violent people because this
school is a violent school. We say it, for many years here in France, that nobody will want to hear as to listen to us.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Boubakeur, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
BOUBAKEUR: Thank you and thank you for you, for your visit. And we are ready to answer you and we thank you for your presence.
AMANPOUR: Merci beaucoup.
AMANPOUR: So Dr. Boubakeur there, breaking into English, an impassioned attempt to really get us to understand what he believes is a
must, a radical reform, a separation of politics and religion in Islam.
Now as we said, the government has deployed thousands and thousands of military and thousands and thousands more police, around mosques, around
Jewish schools and other sensitive areas and organizations and sites. As we said, the Jewish community, after what happened on Friday and what
happened in the past feel heightened fear right now.
And yet another relative of one of those who were slain spoke to CNN over the weekend just before this march. She is the cousin of Elsa Ray
(sic), one of those cartoonists who was slaughtered at "Charlie Hebdo." Elsa Ray (sic) was Jewish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOPHIE BRAMLY, COUSIN OF ELSA CAYAT: They spared all the women and she was the only one killed and she was the only one Jewish. Seems like,
yes, she was definitely killed because she was Jewish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Indeed, the only woman killed.
And when we come back, is it possible to have a world without these deep, deep murderous religious divides? We try to imagine that when we
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where nearly 4 million people turn out onto the streets of this country and in this capital where
a phalanx of world leaders marches, linking arms in a dramatic display of unity and solidarity.
Now imagine that defense of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, democracy lasting tomorrow and the days and weeks and years
At the march, these people told me they hope the nation's sacrifice for these precious rights and the unprecedented show of people power would
lead to action and real change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This planet has had enough of sufferings of all sorts, of all kinds against all creatures. I think we must settle love and
respect towards all eyes human, animals. And we should have done that -- have done that from the beginning.
AMANPOUR: Do you think your country can coexist after this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we can and we will.
AMANPOUR: (INAUDIBLE) many of the dignitaries marching in the Je Suis Charlie movement actually preside over governments that do harass, imprison
and torture journalists. The urge to control the message is growing stronger. The truth is that some of the leaders marching tolerate imams
that incite their followers to hate and jihad with rabid sermons at their mosques. The truth is that we look around at our world and see the most
recent Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria, 2,000 people slaughtered by these militants who then fitted an unwitting 10-year-old girl with a suicide belt
that blew up, killing people in that crowded market.
And the truth is the Pakistani Taliban brought this war to 133 school children in Peshawar last month. Today that school opened again.
So what lessons will be learned all the way from there to here?
That is it for our program tonight live from Paris. You can always watch us online and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for
watching. Good night from Paris.