November 13, 2015 - 8:54pm

Below are resources available to all organizations and advocates working to respond to the attacks in Paris:

  • Latest updates on the Paris shootings/bombings
  • Scheduled vigils across the United States following the Paris attack
  • Up to date press lists of the top reporters covering the Paris attacks
  • Various resources for media engagement, including tips for writing op-eds, LTEs, editorial packets, press releases, and using social media tools in a crisis
  • Talking points catered to interfaith and Muslim/Arab/South Asian communities working to respond to this crisis
  • Interfaith-themed social media graphics, available for download

We will update this document with additional news and resources throughout the weekend and heading into next week. In the meantime, if your organizations has published a statement involving the Paris attacks, please share a copy with Ashley Houghton at Ashley@rethinkmedia.org and Zainab Chaudary at Zainab@rethinkmedia.org. We are also available through the weekend to assist with writing/pitching op-eds, assisting with urgent media questions, and to provide any analysis on breaking news stories.

Paris Shootings/Explosions: Latest Updates

UPDATE, Saturday, Nov 14, 12:00pm

  • The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks and has called it the first of the storm.
  • President Hollande has called this "an act of war" and has vowed to be "merciless" in response. He has also alleged that this attack was due to "inside complicity" against terror threats.
  • The eight attackers were all found with Syrian and Egyptian passports and were apparently a "self-contained cell" from Syria.
  • The current count is 128 dead and 300 hospitalized - of these 300, nearly 80 are in critical condition
  • Anti-immigrant backlash has surged in Europe
  • Americans are among those injured, and the State Department stated: "The U.S. government is working closely with French authorities to identify American victims," said Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner. "We are aware there are Americans among the injured, and are offering them the full range of consular assistance."

Shootings and Explosions Across the City

  • At 9:58pm Paris time, several shootings were reported in the French capital. The shootings occurred in two different restaurants in close proximity to each other. Gunmen reportedly aimed at a bar at the corner of Rue de Charonne and Rue Faidherbe, killing about a dozen unarmed civilians.
  • Three explosions were also reported outside a bar near the Stade de France, where France were playing Germany in a football match, which was  attended by the president Hollande.
  • A French police official confirmed two suicide attacks and one bombing near the Stade de France stadium.
  • Borders were temporarily closed during the crisis and have since been re-opened. Flights to and from Paris have resumed, and trains in and out of France are reportedly on time.
  • Reports on the total number of victims in the attacks vary by different outlets and have grown throughout the evening. French officials have confirmed the latest death count at the time of this writing [3:00am EST] at 120 with approximately 200 injured:
    • At the Stade de France, the Paris prosecutor François Molins said “some” were killed, possibly three. (It is not clear whether this includes the attackers thought to have died here.)
    • At the shootings at the Rue de Charonne, 18 are dead.
    • At Boulevard Voltaire, one person is dead.
    • At Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, five are dead.
    • At Rue Alibert, 14 are dead and “many seriously injured”.
    • At the Bataclan concert venue, 87 people have been reported dead.
    • Two hundred people are reported injured, 80 seriously.
  • The French government announced sweeping new security measures, including the authority to, among other things: temporarily close of places of public assembly like concert halls and theaters; impose house arrest on anyone considered dangerous; confiscate weapons; conduct certain kinds of searches of premises with more leeway.
  • Eight suspects have been killed or have committed suicide as part of the attacks - seven out of eight by detonating explosive belts.
  • There are no credible threats of an attack against the United States, but multiple cities have reported increasing police presence this weekend as a precautionary measure.

The Bataclan Attack

  • At approximately 9:30 p.m. Paris time, several armed individuals entered The Bataclan, a popular concert venue, and began shooting for between 10 and 15 minutes. At around 10 p.m., the gunmen began taking hostages.
  • Police reported that approximately 100 people were taken hostage at the Bataclan concert hall
  • Numerous reports appear in live coverage of hostages tweeting and posting on Facebook that the terrorists are killing the hostages one by one and calling on the police to raid the concert hall.
  • The California-based band headlining The Bataclan on Friday, Eagles of Death Metal, is reported safe after conflicting reports that one band member had been killed.

Reactions to the Attack

  • President Obama delivered a statement in which he expressed his support for France and its people. Even though he emphasized that he did not want to speculate about who the perpetrators of the attack were, he said the US will do everything to help France fight terrorism.
  • President Hollande also made a statement in which he openly called the events terrorist attacks and called on the French people to stand “united in the face of terror.”  He also declared  a state of emergency and closing of the borders.  
  • The morning after the terror attacks, Hollande visited the Bataclan, where he stated, "To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless."
  • Twitter accounts linked to jihadists were celebrating the attacks in Paris, but as of yet no terrorist organizations have officially claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • All current presidential candidates tweeted reactions to the Paris attack. The majority of these were mild, with the exception of Ben Carson, is reported to have tweeted that this attack should be justification for closing the border to refugees. However, that tweet was quickly deleted.
  • Mother Jones is keeping track of the most problematic statements coming from right-wing spokespeople, including Ann Coulter and Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.
  • There were reports of a fire at a Calais refugee camp and speculation that the fire was part of backlash against the refugee/Muslim community in France. However, that fire has been contained and spokespeople at the camp suggest that the incident was "a small fire that got out of hand". This is the fifth such fire at the Calais refugee camp.

New York Time releases a comprehensive report on what happened at each of the five locations shown on the map:

Location and timing of local vigils across the country:

MoveOn has scheduled several vigils across the United States. There may be other vigils currently scheduled and, despite the low planned attendee count according to these Facebook invitations, the location of these local vigils is likely the best place for any flowers or cards dedicated to the victims of the attack.

#Peace4Paris Vigil: Houston
#Peace4Paris Vigil: Miami
#Peace4Paris Vigil: New Orleans
#Peace4Paris Vigil: Boston
#Peace4Paris Vigil: D.C.
#Peace4Paris Vigil: Atlanta
#Peace4Paris Vigil: New York City (alternative event: New York Is Paris)
#Peace4Paris Vigil: Chicago
#Peace4Paris Vigil: San Francisco
#Peace4Paris Vigil: Los Angeles
Muslims for Humanity Candlelight Vigil in Dearborn

The following press lists are available for organizations and advocates working to respond to the crisis, and are also available inside Vocus for ReThink member groups:

ReThink Media Contact List: Breaking News Reporters

ReThink Media Contact List: Reporters on Paris Attacks (USA)

The following resources are available for download as organizations and advocates prepare to respond to the crisis:

ReThink's 10 Tips for Writing Op Eds

ReThink's 10 Tips for Writing Press Releases

ReThink's 10 Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor

ReThink's Top Tips for Editorial Packets

ReThink's Tips for Social Media in a Crisis

Suggested Talking Points

1. This was not just an attack on Paris. This was an attack on our collective humanity, and we cannot allow these attacks to divide us against each other.

  • These attackers’ purpose is to sow fear and division and convince us that we cannot trust our neighbors. They aim to destroy our common humanity. We cannot allow violent extremists to dictate the terms by which we will live. By standing with our neighbors we repudiate these perpetrators’ assumptions that violence will necessarily beget additional violence.
  • In times of crisis, people of good will must speak up in solidarity with those who are most likely to become the victims of backlash and violence over the coming weeks – specifically, Muslims in France and the rest of the world who are equally horrified by these attacks.
  • Parisians have already declared that they will stand united after this attack and will not allow this tragedy to divide or define their city. When we defend our neighbors, we stand united with Paris as a symbol of what is good and what is right after an attack.

2. Those who seek to leverage this tragedy for political gain should be ashamed. Now is the time to grieve, not turn people against each other on the basis of their faith, their ethnicity or their place of origin.

  • Within minutes of this attack, some individuals used this tragedy to justify deportations, the suspension of other people’s rights or in some cases, violence against innocent people. We cannot allow these statements to go unchecked. These statements are an offense to American values and they feed into the very fear the attackers hoped to generate.
  • Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities have all experienced backlash after attacks like these, and bigoted statements often lead to hate crimes against innocent community members. Elected officials and others who resort to hate speech have a responsibility to reject bigotry, not exploit it.

3. Rather than exploit this tragedy to foment anti-refugee sentiment, we must recognize that refugees from Syria and Yemen have been attempting to escape violent extremism.

  • Some have argued that this attack was organized by Syrian refugees – a claim that is unsubstantiated and unlikely.
  • More likely, this is an example of the very violence that has been inflicted on innocent citizens in Syria, Yemen and other Middle Eastern nations. The Syrian civil war and the barbarism of ISIS has killed more Muslims than members of any other faith. The refugee crisis is fueled by the kinds of violence Parisians witnessed on Friday night.

4. The world mourns for Paris and for those who were terrorized by Friday’s attacks.

  • Paris is still coming to terms with the attack. We are only just learning who the perpetrators were, who were victims, and what exactly happened. Paris will need time to grieve and the whole world should support Paris as it recovers from this horrific tragedy.
  • Paris is a symbol of love, of brotherhood, and of light. The rest of the world turns to Paris for its art, its love, its food, its passion, and its vibrancy. Those characteristics are the exact opposite of the destructive cruelty of the murders that perpetrated these attacks. Celebrating the values of Paris is a powerful repudiation of this meaningless violence.
5. When tested by a terror attack, we must stay true to our core values: freedom, equality, and the right to pursue happiness. We cannot allow ourselves to succumb to the attackers by abandoning our principles.
  • Now is not the time to abandon our civil liberties, it's the time to reaffirm them.  As Americans, we should reaffirm the freedom of all people to worship any religion, to assemble, to speak freely, and to not be afraid. We cannot allow these attackers to provoke a response that takes away what we most hold dear. We all have the right to hold conversations in the privacy of our homes without the government listening in on conversations. 
  • Hate crimes and threats against Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans are already at the highest they have been since 9/11. We must support and defend the rights of all our people, even as we grieve for Paris. We have a responsibility to speak up and challenge speech that singles others out based solely on their religion or heritage; to stand up for the rights of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Americans when they come under attack; and to reject those who seek to exploit this tragedy for political gain.
  • There is a temptation, when struck by terror or by grief, to lash out at anyone presumed to be an enemy. But refugees seeking to escape from terrible violence should not be blamed for the actions of the murderers in Paris and our American Muslim neighbors should not be subject to prejudice and violence.

A version of these talking points is available for download as a PDF here:

ReThink Media - Paris Talking Points (Updated)

Social Media Images Available for Download

MLK Image: Darkness Cannot Drive Out Darkness

Interfaith Image 1: Nous Sommes Paris

Interfaith Image 2: Nous Sommes Paris (Twitter)

Interfaith Image 3: Nous Sommes Paris (Many Faiths)