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World leaders condemn attack at Charlie Hebdo

Posted in World

Published on January 09, 2015 with No Comments

Attacked French magazine often lambasted religion and radicals


  • Charlie Hebdo is a left-leaning French weekly satirical magazine which features cartoons, reports, polemics and jokes.
  • It publishes satires on public figures, from politicians to judges to religious founders, and so on.
  • It was started by the staff of another French magazine, Hara-Kiri.
  • Hara-Kiri was banned for supposedly ‘offending public taste’ after it published a mock death of French President Charles de Gaulle.
  • In 2011 they published a special edition showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover which stated – A thousand lashes if you don’t die laughing.
  • The magazine was renamed ‘Charia Hebdo’ for sometime, with ‘Charia’ being a French term for ‘Sharia’ and purported to have been guest-edited by the Prophet. Following this the magazine’s offices were fire-bombed and destroyed and death threats were also given to its staff.
  • The publication’s website was also hacked. It was replaced with an image of Mecca and the words – There is no good but Allah.
  • A week after this incident the cover of the magazine showed a cartoonist and a bearded standing in front of the bombed-out offices, kissing. ‘Love is stronger than hate’ – was written on the cover.
  • In 2012 the magazine published more images of Prophet Mohammed.
  • The backdrop of the images was demonstrations regarding US-produced film which had been released the called ‘Innocence of Muslims’.
  • The cartoons of the magazine showed an orthodox Jew pushing the figure of a turbaned Prophet Mohammed in a wheelchair in one image, The Prophet was shown as naked in other images.


Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper that was victim of a bloody attack on Wednesday claiming at least 12 lives, has never pulled its punches when it came to lambasting religion, especially radical Islam.

From publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammad that sparked Middle East riots in 2005 to renaming an edition “Sharia Hebdo” and listing Islam’s prophet as its supposed editor-in-chief, the weekly has repeatedly caricatured Muslims and their beliefs.

Politically left-libertarian, it has gleefully fired barbs at other religions, such as the Catholic Church when it was mired in child sex abuse scandals several years ago, and devotes even more space to make fun of politicians But its attacks on Muslims have caused the most controversy, including a court case on charges of racism and the firebombing of its offices in 2011 after the “Sharia Hebdo” edition. “Hebdo” is French slang for a weekly newspaper.

The weekly has also made fun of the Muslim veil for women and ridiculed Islamist extremists. In the edition publishing the Danish cartoons, its cover had a drawing of Mohammad in tears, saying: “It’s hard to be loved by jerks.”

Editor Stephane Charbonnier, who according to French media was killed in the attack, told Reuters in 2012 that nobody noticed when the paper ridiculed Catholic traditionalists. “But we are not allowed to make fun of Muslim hardliners. It’s the new rule … but we will not obey it,” he said.

French and world leaders have strongly condemned a shooting at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in which at least 12 people were killed. Thousands turned out across French cities in solidarity with the victims.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack at the Charlie Hebdo weekly, whose caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have frequently drawn protest from Muslims.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that 12 people had so far been killed, including four of France’s best-known cartoonists and the magazine’s director, Stéphane Charbonnier (also known as Charb). Another 11 people were reportedly injured, four of them critically.

Police were looking for two brothers in their 30s as well as a younger accomplice. As per reports, police were focusing on the towns of Reims and Charleville-Mézières north of Paris.

France has raised its security alert to its highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and on public transportation while government officials convened for an emergency meeting.

In a televised address, Hollande said the attack was an attack on all of France and on the ideal of freedom of expression. He declared a day of national mourning on Thursday for the victims.

International reaction

US President Barack Obama said he strongly condemned the “horrific shooting” before adding: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack.”

Speaking in French, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged US solidarity with France. “Tous les Américains se tiennent à leurs côtés (All Americans stand beside France),” Kerry said.

FBI Director James Comey  said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with French law enforcement officials to bring those responsible to justice.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack “sickening”. “We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press,” Cameron said in a message on Twitter.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also voiced outrage at the “despicable attack”, calling it a “horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime”.

The European Union leadership called the shooting “revolting” and expressed solidarity with France, vowing to pursue the fight against terrorism. Donald Tusk, the new president of the European Council, said he was “shocked” by the attack.”The European Union stands beside France after this appalling act. It is a brutal attack against our fundamental values and against the freedom of expression, a pillar of our democracy,” the former Polish premier said in a statement.”The fight against terrorism in all its forms must continue unabated,” Tusk said.

While other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, condemned the attack, supporters of the militant Islamic State group celebrated the slayings as well-deserved revenge against France.

The Islamic State group has repeatedly threatened to attack French targets. Just minutes before the attack, Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of the extremist group’s leader giving New Year’s wishes.


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