After Offending Muslims, Charlie Hebdo Promises to Offend Jews
The “Freedom of Speech War” Rages on in Europe.
Charlie Hebdo, a weekly French rag, is going to follow up on their wildly successful weekly edition by publishing Iranian-sponsored lampoons of the Holocaust in their next edition.
The French Paper Charlie-Hebdo bears the headline “Mohammed stressed out by the fundamentalists” and a cartoon of the prophet in tears uttering the words “It’s hard to be loved by fools.” (Today)
The New York Times says that the battle for freedom of speech in Europe is far from over:
The weekly, Charlie Hebdo, published the Danish cartoons on Wednesday, together with one it had commissioned for its cover showing the Prophet Muhammad muttering, “It’s hard to be loved by morons.”
Mr. Chirac, at his weekly meeting with government ministers, called the move a provocation, saying, “Freedom of expression must be exercised in a spirit of responsibility,” according to a government spokesman. “I condemn all manifest provocation that might dangerously fan passions,” Mr. Chirac said.
The latest incident suggested that the storm over freedom of expression and religious taboos is not likely to abate.
A group of Islamic organizations had tried to stop Charlie Hebdo (the origin of its name is obscure) from selling the current issue, which includes caricatures mocking other religions, but they failed to win an injunction. The weekly said it had sold 400,000 copies, four times the norm.
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, with nearly one-tenth of its 60 million people coming from Islamic backgrounds. The country’s foreign policy has long dealt cautiously, even sympathetically, with the Arab world, and many analysts have said France’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq was in part a result of fears that cooperation could lead to a destabilizing backlash at home.
A French daily, France Soir, was the first publication in the country to reprint the Danish cartoons, which were originally printed in September. The newspaper’s owner, a French-Egyptian, fired the chief editor the next day. Several French newspapers, including Le Monde, have since printed some cartoons to affirm freedom of expression.
It’s no wonder Jacques Chirac is voicing his concern.
As the US sees less crime, France, Australia and Canada grow more violent. Even before the riots last year, an average of 3,500 cars a month were torched nationwide in France.
After the offensive edition came out this week, several members of the staff at Charlie Hebdo were placed under police protection.
Austin Bay notes the timing of the cartoon’s release in Egypt today.
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