Charlie Hebdo Reprints Mohammad Cartoon Defending the Freedom to Poke Fun
A man shows the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, featuring a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover, following a gas bomb attack on the magazine’s offices on November 2, 2011 in Paris, France. The attack, which completely destroyed the offices, comes a day after the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ featured a caricature of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover and named him as ‘editor-in-chief’
A French satirical weekly whose office was firebombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad has reproduced the image with other caricatures in a special supplement distributed with one of the country’s leading newspapers.
The weekly Charlie Hebdo defended “the freedom to poke fun” in the four-page supplement, which was wrapped around copies of the left-wing daily Liberation Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place hours before an edition of Charlie Hebdo hit newsstands featuring a cover-page cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”
The weekly, known for its irreverent treatment of the political establishment and religious figures, bore the headline “Charia Hebdo,” in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and said that week’s issue had been guest-edited by Mohammad.
The incident pits Europe’s tradition of free speech and secularism against Islam’s injunction barring any depictions seen as mocking the prophet. The publication of cartoons of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005 sparked unrest in the Muslim world in which at least 50 people were killed.
Following the firebombing, Charlie Hebdo staff moved temporarily into the offices of Liberation. The two publications jointly produced Thursday’s supplement, which reproduced the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in an article on the back page.
One headline in the supplement said: “After their office blaze, this team defends the ‘freedom to poke fun’.”
“We thought the lines had moved and that maybe there would be more respect for our satirical work, our right to mock. Freedom to have a good laugh is as important as freedom of speech,” Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier said in the supplement.