A video has surfaced of Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist who took hostages at a kosher market in Paris last week, in which he explains his motivations for carrying out the attack. Coulibaly, 32, was killed by French police during a raid that ended the siege, but not before he killed four people, all of whom were Jews. He was working with brothers Said and and Cherif Kouachi, who stormed the offices of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and murdered 12 people, including four cartoonists. The magazine's staff had been threatened before after lampooning Islam's prophet, Muhammad.
In the video, Coulibaly cites this as a reason for the attack, as well as French involvement in the campaign against ISIS:
"What we are doing now is totally legitimate, considering what they do, it's been amply deserved for some time. If you attack the caliphate Islamic State, we attack you. You cannot attack without repercussions. You can't pretend that you don't know what's going on for months, when you and your coalition are the ones responsible. You regularly attack there. You have invested in force. You kill civilians, you kill fighters. Why? Is it because we apply sharia? We are not allowed to apply sharia even in our own home? It is you who will decide what will happen on Earth? This is it? No. We are not going to let this happen."
Coulibaly then addressed French Muslims:
"I ask them: What are you doing? What are you doing, my brothers, when the fight is directly in the cause of Allah? What would you do when our prophet is insulted, repeatedly? What are you doing, my brothers?"
There is no evidence Coulibaly was working with ISIS, though the group has encouraged Muslims around the world to carry out lone wolf attacks of the sort seen in Sydney last month and in Ottawa in October. However, here is plenty of evidence once again that the attack in Paris very much has a thing or two to do with Islam, despite President Francois Hollande's tone-deaf and false assertion that, "These fanatics have nothing to do with Islam."
But Coulibaly's words, just as those of so many other jihadists, speak for themselves. In effect, he explains what France and others aren't allowed to do without having to worry about someone like him perpetrating a slaughter. Attacking the Islamist death cult of ISIS that's killing and enslaving infidels by the thousands? Haram. Following secular law, and not sharia? Haram. Drawing cartoons of Muhammad? Haram.
This is the nature of the enemy. It is deeply religious, deeply Islamic. It may not be the sort of Islam that's practiced and defended by most Muslims, but this problem is grounded in the religion, whether we want to admit it or not.