The list was originally published in a 2013 edition of Inspire, al-Qaeda’s leading English-speaking magazine, under the heading “Wanted, dead or alive for crimes against Islam.” In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo’s attack, the hit list resurfaced on Twitter last week. French editor Stephane Charbonnier’s picture appears to be lower than Jones, who’s listed at No. 2. Chillingly, the infamous hitlist has reappeared on Twitter with a red X imposed over Charbonnier’s face.  If you’re noticing a common theme, it’s that these are not people who have killed Muslims or even waged war on al Qaeda directly. No, the greatest crime imaginable is insulting the Prophet Mohammed, which most—if not all—of these people would gladly admit to being guilty of. Presidents Obama and Bush will have to wait their turn. 
Author Salman Rushdie, Danish journalist Flemming Rose and Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom Geert Wilders (spelled Girt on the hit list) are just some of the featured headshots. Rushdie, who had a fatwa placed on him after the publication of his 1989 book The Satanic Verses, released a statement following the attack on Wednesday. “Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry, becomes a real threat to our freedoms,” he said.  “This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.” 
Kurt Westergaard, who caused outrage with his drawings of the prophet Muhammad in newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard also appears on the hit list. He created the image of the prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005. Responding to the Charlie Hebdo attacks Westergaard said he hoped the media world would not be scared. “It’s very important not to be afraid but you have got to stand on these very valuable democratic principles on which our societies here in western Europe are based, so I hope we will not give in. You must not surrender the very important freedom of speech,” he said. 
Also on the hit list is Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who said he had been offered extra protection since the shootings. “Yes, they have strengthened protection around me. They have taken different measures,” Vilks told Reuters.  Police continue to search for the suspected gunmen, brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both French nationals in their early 30s.
According to the account of one witness reported in the French media, one of the gunmen told onlookers in the street to “tell the media that this is al-Qaeda in Yemen” before launching the attack. Al-Qaeda in Yemen changed its name to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) a few years ago, with the inclusion of terrorists from Saudi Arabia.
The full hit list is: Stephane Charbonnier, Danish journalist and former Jyllands-Posten editor Carsten Luste, US pastor Terry Jones, Kurt Westergaard, Geert Wilders, Lars Vilks, Flemming Rose, Morris Swadiq and Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Molly Norris. Let’s examine it more closely:
- Carsten Juste. Danish journalist and former editor-in-chief of Jyllands-Posten, a Danish large-circulation newspaper. Juste started out his career in 1979 as a trainee with Jyllands-Posten. He was its editor-in-chief from January 2003 until the end of April 2008. Juste was embroiled in the controversy following the paper’s September 2005 publication of several cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In one comment Juste stated “We will not apologise, because we live in Denmark under Danish law, and we have freedom of speech in this country. If we apologised, we would betray the generations who have fought for this right, and the moderate Muslims who are democratically minded.”  Juste claimed the international furor over the cartoons amounted to a victory for opponents of free expression. “Those who have won are dictatorships in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, where they cut criminals’ hands and give women no rights,” Juste told The Associated Press: “The dark dictatorships have won.”  Danish police thwarted threats on the life of Juste and Jyllands-Posten staff members.   In another comment, Juste admitted that the 12 cartoons, one of which depicted Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, had caused “serious misunderstandings”. Carsten Juste said: “The 12 cartoons … were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims, for which we apologise.” 
- Terry Jones. He is the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center, a small nondenominational Christian church located, until July 2013, in Gainesville, Florida, USA.   He is the President of a political group, Stand Up America Now. He first gained national and international attention in 2010 for his plan to burn Qur’ans, the scripture of the Islamic religion, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. On March 21, 2011, Jones and some supporters held a mock trial of the Qu’ran and set a copy on fire as a “punishment” for “crimes against humanity.” Jones was assisted by Ahmed Abaza, an Egyptian ex-Muslim, and a Texas Imam, Mohamed El Hassan who argued for and against the accusations. Reaction to the event resulted in riots and deaths in Afghanistan.   Terry Jones has received hundreds of death threats, including US$2.2 Million bounty on his head from the Islamist group Jama’at-ud-Da’wah.    On April 28, 2012, Jones burned a copy of the Qur’an, protesting the imprisonment of an Iranian-American Pastor, Saeed Abedini in Iran.  Jones was fined $271 by Gainesville Fire Rescue for burning books without authorization. An Iranian cleric called for Jones to be executed.  In April 2013, Jones announced plans for a Qu’ran burning event to be held on September 11, 2013.    In Iran, Pakistan, and at an Interfaith Conference in Vienna there have been calls for the United States government to stop this event.    Army General Lloyd Austin III, commander of US Central Command called Jones on September 9, 2013, to ask him cancel the event, however Jones declined.  Police arrested Jones on September 11, 2013, before he could burn 2,998 Korans soaked with kerosene at a park in Polk County, Florida. He was charged with unlawfully conveying fuel and openly carrying a firearm.  He was a self-declared independent U.S. presidential candidate in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. He is listed as a candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  In 2011, he was listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of 10 people in the United States’ “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle”.  The Florida pastor who declared “Islam is of the Devil”, declared September 11 to be “International Burn-A-Koran Day” and became an unlikely symbol of free speech when leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties called for him to be held liable for al-Qaeda attacks. Jones has been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court after the Arab Spring.
- Kurt Westergaard. Danish cartoonist who created the controversial cartoon of the Islamic prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban. This cartoon was the most contentious of the 12 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, which met with strong reactions from Muslims worldwide, including Western countries. Since the drawing of the cartoon, Westergaard has received numerous death threats and was a target of assassination attempts. On 12 February 2008, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) announced the arrest of three Muslims — two Tunisians and one Moroccan-born Dane — who were charged with planning to murder Westergaard. After the plot was foiled, the Danish secret service was made responsible for protecting Westergaard. He was placed under police surveillance when traveling to and from work.  His house was fitted with steel doors, a panic room, reinforced glass in the windows and surveillance cameras.  On 1 January 2010, a 28-year-old Somali Muslim intruder armed with an axe and knife entered Westergaard’s house and was subsequently shot and wounded by police.  Westergaard was unharmed due to security precautions in his house. According to PET intelligence, the suspect is closely linked to the Somali Islamist insurgency group al-Shabaab, commonly considered a terrorist organization, as well as an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa.     As a result, he is under constant police protection.  
- Geert Wilders. Dutch politician and the founder and leader of the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid – PVV) which currently is the fourth-largest party in the Dutch parliament.   Wilders is best known for his criticism of Islam, summing up his views by saying, “I don’t hate Muslims, I hate Islam”.  Wilders’ views regarding Islam have made him a controversial figure in the Netherlands and abroad. Wilders has campaigned to stop what he views as the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”. He compares the Quran with Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands.    He advocates ending immigration from Muslim countries,   and supports banning the construction of new mosques.  Wilders was a speaker at the Facing Jihad Conference held in Jerusalem in 2008, which discussed the dangers of jihad, and has called for a hard line against what he called the “street terror” exerted by minorities in Dutch cities.  His controversial 2008 film about his views on Islam, Fitna, received international attention. He has been described in the media as populist and labeled far-right, though this is disputed by other observers.
- Lars Vilks. Swedish artist. Although an academically trained art theorist, Vilks is a self-taught artist. In the 1970s, he started painting, and in 1984, he embarked on creating the idiosyncratic sculptures that have been his hallmark, starting with Nimis. At this time, in the early 1980s, postmodernism made its definite entry into the Swedish art scene, using inspiration from e.g. the French art philosopher Jean-François Lyotard. He garnered both fame and notoriety for deliberate provocations, be it erecting buildings in nature preserves or his drawings of Muhammed, which resulted in at least one failed attempt by offended extremists to murder him. In 2007 Vilks was embroiled in an international controversy after he made a series of drawings depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a roundabout dog. The drawings were initially intended to be shown at a local art exhibition at Tällerud, just outside Karlstad, in Värmland, Sweden in July 2007 but were removed from the exhibition by the organisers, citing security concerns and fear of violence from Muslims, shortly before its opening.  Following the first refusal, Vilks submitted the drawings to several other art galleries in Sweden, including the distinguished Gerlesborg School of Fine Art in Bohuslän where he is a frequent lecturer, but all declined to show the drawings for the same reason. The controversy gained international attention after the Örebro-based regional newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, published one of the drawings on 18 August to illustrate an editorial on self-censorship and freedom of religion.  He has been attacked at a public appearance, and an assassination attempt was stopped by police. Vilks has previously drawn Jesus as a pedophile and attempted to secede from Sweden.
- Stéphane Charbonnier, editor of the comedy magazine Charlie Hebdo which reacted to the Arab Spring by calling itself Shari’a Hebdo and publishing Mohammed on the cover, which resulted in its offices being burned down. Charlie Hebdo has since published more offensive cartoons to deliberately provoke the right. In 2006, Charlie Hebdo under editor Philippe Val published the Jyllands-Posten cartoons in 2006 and was subsequently prosecuted by the French government at the direction of Jacques Chirac and found innocent. In September 2012, a man was arrested in La Rochelle for allegedly having called for the beheading of Charb on a Jihadist website.  In a 2012 interview Charb was quoted as saying, “I am not afraid of reprisals, I have no children, no wife, no car, no debt. It might sound a bit pompous, but I’d prefer to die on my feet than to live on my knees.”  Al-Qaeda put Charb on their “most-wanted list” in 2013   after he edited an edition of Charlie Hebdo that satirised radical Mohammedans.  Charb was killed, with seven of his colleagues, two police officers and two other people on 7 January 2015 when a pair of gunmen stormed the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices in Paris.  
- Flemming Rose. Danish journalist, author and cultural editor at the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He was principally responsible for the September 2005 publication of the cartoons that initiated the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy early the next year, and since then he has been a prominent international champion of the freedom of speech. Rose is best known for commissioning a group of drawings of Muhammad that were published in Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. His reasoning was that many European creative artists had engaged in self-censorship out of fear of Muslim violence. The immediate trigger for the commission was the case of the Danish children’s book author Kåre Bluitgen, who reportedly couldn’t find an illustrator for a book about the life of Muhammad. Jyllands-Posten invited Danish illustrators to depict Muhammad “as you see him.” Not all of the cartoons submitted in response to his invitation featured images of Muhammed. Two of them caricatured Bluitgen, one mocked Jyllands-Posten itself, while others caricatured Danish politicians. The most famous of the cartoons, by Kurt Westergaard, depicted Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Rose said that Islam expert Bernard Lewis had told him that the cartoon crisis marked “the first time Muslims [had tried] to impose Islamic law on non-Muslim countries.” He also said, “There’s a problem with Muslims in Europe and it must be dealt with – but limiting freedom of expression is not the solution.” He further commented: “There are those who viewed the cartoons that I published as a form of incitement, but I don’t think a statement should be measured by the response it yields, especially if the response is irrational and stupid.” He also stated that “There was a time after the crisis that I had to take extra precautions, but that is in the past. I never felt threatened – or that I have to be silent.”  After the cartoon crisis, Rose he traveled around the U.S. and interviewed such figures as Francis Fukuyama, Bill Kristol, Richard Perle, and Bernard Lewis for the New York Times and Jyllands-Posten. In response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Rose commented “These murders challenge democracies in the most sickening style. They present a terrible threat to the free speech that is the foundation of true democracy” 
- Morris Sadek, Egyptian American Coptic Christian lawyer and activist. He works at the National American Coptic Assembly which is basically his blog. He had translated into Arabic the promotional clip for the movie Innocence of Muslims, which has been (falsely) blamed for the September 11 anniversary attacks on US assets in 2012, and there have been attempts to blame Sadik for the violence. His Egyptian citizenship had previously been revoked for promoting the invasion of Egypt and attacking Islam. A vocal opponent of Islam, he reportedly protested the Ground Zero Mosque on September 11, 2010, with crucifix, Bible, and American flag, stating that “Islam is evil” and “Islam is a cult religion.” On September 6, 2012, he is reported to have sent out mails to journalists containing the link to the 14-minute version of the film Innocence of Muslims. His Egyptian citizenship was revoked after the Arab Spring.
- Salman Rushdie. British Indian novelist and essayist. His fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was the centre of a major controversy, provoking protests from Muslims in several countries. Death threats were made against him, including a fatwā calling for his assassination issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989, and as a result he was put under police protection by the British government. Khomeini called the book “blasphemous against Islam” (chapter IV of the book depicts the character of an Imam in exile who returns to incite revolt from the people of his country with no regard for their safety). A bounty was offered for Rushdie’s death, and he was thus forced to live under police protection for several years. On 7 March 1989, the United Kingdom and Iran broke diplomatic relations over the Rushdie controversy. The publication of the book and the fatwā sparked violence around the world, with bookstores firebombed. Muslim communities in several nations in the West held public rallies, burning copies of the book. Several people associated with translating or publishing the book were attacked, seriously injured, and even killed. Many more people died in riots in some countries. In February 1997, Ayatollah Hasan Sane’i, leader of the bonyad panzdah-e khordad (Fifteenth of Khordad Foundation), reported that the blood money offered by the foundation for the assassination of Rushdie would be increased from $2 million to $2.5 million.  Then a semi-official religious foundation in Iran increased the reward it had offered for the killing of Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.  On 3 August 1989, while Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh was priming a book bomb loaded with RDX explosive in a hotel in Paddington, Central London, the bomb exploded prematurely, destroying two floors of the hotel and killing Mazeh. A previously unknown Lebanese group, the Organization of the Mujahidin of Islam, said he died preparing an attack “on the apostate Rushdie”. One of the book’s editors has been killed and two have survived assassination attempts. Rushdie was appointed Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999  . In June 2007, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him for his services to literature.  In 2008, The Times ranked him thirteenth on its list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945. 
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born American (formerly Dutch) activist, writer, and politician. She is known for her views critical of female genital mutilation and Islam and supportive of women’s rights and atheism. She collaborated on a short movie with Theo van Gogh, entitled Submission (2004). Critical of Islam, it provoked controversy, and death threats were made against each of the two. Van Gogh was assassinated later that year by a Dutch Muslim. In 2005, Hirsi Ali was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.  She has also received several awards, including a free speech award from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten,  the Swedish Liberal Party’s Democracy Prize,  and the Moral Courage Award for commitment to conflict resolution, ethics, and world citizenship.  In March 2006 she co-signed a letter entitled “MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism”.  Among the eleven other signatories was British writer Salman Rushdie, against whom a fatwa had been pronounced which Hirsi Ali had supported as a teen. The letter was published in response to protests in the Islamic world surrounding the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy in Denmark, and it supported freedom of press and freedom of expression. Hirsi Ali has criticized the treatment of women in Islamic societies and the punishments demanded by conservative Islamic scholars for homosexuality and adultery. She identified as Muslim until 28 May 2002, when she announced that she was an atheist as a result of a multi-year journey.  Hirsi Ali has increasingly attacked Islam since leaving the Netherlands, in what The Economist characterized as broad-brushed condemnation of the entire religion and its followers. It noted that “Characterising an entire religion in this way is considered entirely beyond the pale in educated American society.”  In a 2007 interview in the London Evening Standard,  Hirsi Ali characterized Islam as “the new fascism”: “Just like Nazism started with Hitler’s vision, the Islamic vision is a caliphate — a society ruled by Sharia law – in which women who have sex before marriage are stoned to death, homosexuals are beaten, and apostates like me are killed. Sharia law is as inimical to liberal democracy as Nazism.” In this interview, she said, “Violence is inherent in Islam – it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder.” In a 2007 article in Reason magazine, Hirsi Ali said that Islam must be defeated and that “we are at war with Islam.”  She said, “Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.”  Hirsi Ali criticises the central Islamic prophet on morality and personality traits (criticisms based on biographical details or depictions by Islamic texts and early followers of Muhammad). In January 2003 she told the Dutch paper Trouw, “Muhammad is, seen by our Western standards, a pervert”, as he married, at the age of 53, Aisha, who was six years old and nine at the time the marriage was consummated. Muslims filed a religious discrimination suit against her that year. The civil court in The Hague acquitted Hirsi Ali of any charges, but said that she “could have made a better choice of words”.
- Molly Norris, a cartoonist from the US state of Washington who declared Everybody Draw Mohammed Day in response to the death threats received by South Park cartoonists Trey Parker and Matt Stone in 2010. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day (or “Draw Mohammed Day”) was an event held on May 20, 2010, in support of free speech and freedom of artistic expression of those threatened with violence for drawing representations of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It began as a protest against censorship of an American television show, South Park, “201” by its distributor, Comedy Central, in response to death threats against some of those responsible for two segments broadcast in April 2010. Observance of the day began with a drawing posted on the Internet on April 20, 2010, accompanied by text suggesting that “everybody” create a drawing representing Muhammad, on May 20, 2010, as a protest against efforts to limit freedom of speech. U.S. cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle, Washington, said that she created the artwork in reaction to Internet death threats that had been made against animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for depicting Muhammad in an episode of South Park. Depictions of Muhammad are explicitly forbidden by a few hadiths (sayings of and about Muhammad), though not by the Quran.  Postings on RevolutionMuslim.com (under the pen name Abu Talha al-Amrikee; later identified as Zachary Adam Chesser) had said that Parker and Stone could wind up like Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was stabbed and shot to death.  Norris said that if people draw pictures of Muhammad, Islamic terrorists would not be able to murder them all, and threats to do so would become unrealistic. Within a week, Norris’ idea became popular on Facebook, was supported by numerous bloggers, and generated coverage on the blog websites of major U.S. newspapers. As the publicity mounted, Norris and the man who created the first Facebook page promoting the May 20 event disassociated themselves from it. Nonetheless, planning for the protest continued with others “taking up the cause”.  Facebook had an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” page, which grew to over 100,000 participants (101,870 members by May 20). A protest page on Facebook against the initiative, named “Against ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'”, attracted slightly more supporters (106,000 by May 20).  Subsequently, Facebook was temporarily blocked by Pakistan; the ban was lifted after Facebook agreed to block the page for users in India and Pakistan.
2:26: I said it in the Dutch context. … In the Netherlands, a few decades ago, Mein Kampf was outlawed, and at that time the … politicians in Holland applauded it. … I am not in favour of banning any books normally but if you are consistent.
Mr Wilders wants the authorities to halt all immigration from Muslim countries
Witnesses said that the gunmen had called out the names of individual from the magazine. French media report that Charb, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who was on al Qaeda most wanted list in 2013, was seriously injured.