Several dozen students and Francophiles gathered in Red Square on the University of Washington campus on Friday in light of the tragic events that unfolded this week in Paris.
They formed a loose circle and discussed freedom of expression, what they love about France and how they were handling the news that two gunman had entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and killed 12 staffers. The gunmen died Friday after a standoff with police.
Zachary Gian, an exchange student from France, said it has been hard to watch the news.
“We were all impacted the same way and shocked the same way to see what happened to our country. And even though we were away, it’s like we were personally attacked,” Gian said.
Amani Azzaidani said she came as a Muslim voice and to state plainly that she and other Muslims support freedom of expression.
What the shooters did “goes completely against the Prophet’s example,” she said.
“It made me sick to my stomach,” Azzaidani said. “Instead of protecting the image of the prophet, they completely diminished it – more than some pornographic images.”
There was no chanting at Friday’s planned rally – mostly conversation and exchange of ideas.
A French flag and several printed covers of Charlie Hebdo magazine were laid out on the bricks.