Showing no fear after getting its offices firebombed soon after printing an issue ridiculing radical Islam, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, has fired back with a cover depicting a gay Muslim man passionately kissing another man under the headline: “L’Amour plus fort que la haine,” French for “love is stronger than hate.”
Charlie Hebdo is a caustic and controversial satire magazine that uses vulgar humor and illustrations to lampoon anything its writers and artists feel is fair game, usually in the realm of politics and religion, with everyone at equal risk of being a target. French president Nikolas Sarkozy is perpetually ridiculed in its pages, as well as leftist politicians like Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Recently, a cover had a drawing of the Bible, Koran, and Torah swirling in a toilet bowl with a headline that read: “In the toilet, all the religions.”
So, when the magazine’s editors recently announced that Muhammad would be a “guest editor” and the magazine was temporarily renamed “Charia Hebdo” (a play on the word, “Sharia”), it was according to protocol. However, as is well-known, depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad is extremely offensive to some Muslims, and there has been violent retaliation, evidenced by the infamous 2005 Danish cartoon scandal in which riots flared up as a response to a newspaper’s publications of cartoons ridiculing Muhammad.
Since then, other newspapers and media outlets have adopted self-censorship when it comes to images of Muhammad, such as Comedy Central choosing to edit out the image of Muhammad in a “South Park” episode in 2006 and Yale University choosing not to include the Danish comics of Muhammad in an anthology of controversial cartoons entitled, “The Cartoons that Shook the World.”
Charlie Hebdo, however, was undeterred, and published its “Charia Hebdo” with a drawing of a bearded Muslim man on the cover (there was no specific reference to Muhammad), saying “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” Inside were caricatures and comics that mocked the recent events in Libya and Tunisia where certain Sharia laws are being implemented and Islamist politicians getting elected.
Stephane Charbonnier, editor-in-chief of the humor magazine, told reporters: “What motivated us to publish this edition were events in Libya and Tunisia. It was a joke. The idea was to imagine a world where Sharia would be applied, but as everyone says to not worry about Libya or Tunisia, we wanted to explain what a ‘soft’ version of Sharia could look like.”
And, what was the result of Charia Hebdo?
The French magazine had its website hacked,death threats to employees and their office was completely destroyed by a firebomb (nobody was injured).
Here is the video:
But, undeterred Charlie Hebdo is now come out with the gay Muslim man cover. Some say this is Muhammad, but it has not been confirmed.
What could possibly go wrong?
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’I guess one firebombing wasn’t enough for freedom to publish a cartoon of Mohammad.
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.