French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and controversy court with cartoon on Islam

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French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and controversy court with cartoon on Islam

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published Wednesday a provocative cartoon about Islam and the terror attacks in Spain, resulting in criticism that it risked fanning Islamophobia.

The most recent edition of this magazine, which was targeted by Islamist gunmen in 2015, shows two people lying in a pool of blood having been run over by a van beside the words “Islam, eternal religion of peace.”

A dozen extremists of Moroccan origin are believed to have plotted last week’s strikes in Barcelona and Cambrils, where 15 people were killed and over 100 injured after a van and car were driven into crowds.

The attackers are believed by investigators to have been radicalised by an extremist preacher who died in a home where the group was hoping to produce explosives.

Critics of Charlie Hebdo saw its front-page as tarring an entire religion, practised by around 1.5 billion people worldwide, by suggesting it was inherently violent.

As the cartoon became one of the top trending themes on Twitter in France, prominent Socialist MP and former minister Stephane Le Foll called it “extremely dangerous”.

“When you are a journalist you need to exercise restraint because making these associations may be used by other people,” he said.

Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau clarified the choice in an editorial, saying that experts and policy-makers were avoiding difficult questions out of concern for medium law-abiding Muslims.

“The debates and questions about the role of faith, and in particular the role of Islam, in these attacks have completely disappeared,” he wrote.

Charlie Hebdo lampoons all religions and religious figures, but its depictions of the Prophet Mohammed — an act considered sinful led to death threats outrage and finally violence.

Two gunmen who claimed allegiance to Al-Qaeda killed 12 people in an attack.

Thousands and thousands of people marched through the streets of France later, rallying behind the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) in defence of the right to free speech.

Riss said that the magazine could stop depicting the prophet, leading one journalist to stop and accuse of going soft on extremism its management.

(AFP)

Date created : 2017-08-23

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