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​Safety and Security: Bomb blasts pro-ISIS magazine

The front of the offices of the pro-ISIS magazine Adimlar was damaged by a bomb blast March 25.

How does this attack fit into the freedom of expression equation?

A bomb exploded at the entrance to the Istanbul, Turkey, offices of the pro-ISIS magazine Adimlar on the night of March 25, killing one writer and injuring three editors, including the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Ali Osman Zor. His brother, Unsal Zor, was the writer killed in the explosion.

Ali Osman Zor was photographed shortly after the blast, sitting in singed clothing and smoking a cigarette. His magazine publishes content supporting terrorists and includes anti-American sentiments. He reportedly supports and justifies the beheadings and executions performed by ISIS because of what he claims is Western interference in the Middle-East.

Turkish police reported that a bomb was left at the entrance to the offices, and it detonated when the door was opened. Police had not identified suspects at the time and did not release a motive for the attack, but Turkish media speculated that a rival Islamist group might be the culprit. Meanwhile, a little-known Kurdish-leaning organization calling itself the People’s Defense Unit made a claim of responsibility, although police have not given this claim validity.

Ali Osman Zor reportedly served time in prison on convictions of terrorism and is a member of a group called the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front. The group strives for radical Islamic rule in Turkey.

A new twist

This attack against Adimlar adds a new twist to the subject of newsroom security, the safety of journalists and the protection of freedom of expression across the world. Attacks earlier this year — believed to have been carried-out by Islamic extremists — targeted journalists and artists. A Jan. 15 attack at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris resulted in the deaths of 12 people and the wounding of 11 others. The dead included nine Charlie Hebdo employees. The terrorists were heard to claim that they were avenging the satirical depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that were printed in earlier issues of Charlie Hebdo.

Another incident considered an attack against those practicing freedom of expression occurred Feb. 14 when a gunman sprayed bullets into the window of a café in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Swedish artist Lars Vilks, known for his depictions of Muhammad, was scheduled to speak.

Western journalists, media professionals and the public were appalled by the earlier attacks by perpetrators labeled Islamic terrorists or extremists, but the bombing of the Adimlar offices raises a fascinating question: Should all those practicing freedom of expression deserve protection equally, even if they support terrorist activities? After all, Adimlar is a publication whose staff is practicing freedom of the press, regardless of its radical views and support of violent acts by groups like ISIS.

So far there has not been any outrage over this attack in the Western media. Does this create a double standard by the journalists of the Free World who consider themselves truly objective? Such a response, of course, would not be popular with Western audiences. It’s a fascinating issue, but an unpopular one that’s not likely to be answered anytime soon.

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