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Charlie Hebdo and the Muhammad cartoons row

AFP · 2 Nov 2011, 15:10

Published: 02 Nov 2011 14:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Nov 2011 15:10 GMT+01:00

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The suspected firebombing of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo is the latest twist in the six-year-old controversy over images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad published by Western media.

The involvement of Charlie Hebdo, which has built its reputation on attacking both religious and political leaders of all complexions, dates back to its decision to publish the images of the prophet in 2006.

The row broke out in September 2005 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten published 12 drawings focused on Islam, several of which were seen as linking both the religion and the prophet Mohammed to modern terrorism and suicide bombings.

At the time the war in mainly Muslim Iraq, initiated by the US-led invasion that had overthrown the regime of Saddam Hussein, was in full swing, and the threat of Islamic extremism had been underlined by the deadly attacks that had hit London less than three months earlier.

One of the drawings by cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who subsequently had to go into hiding, showed the prophet with a hat in the shape of a bomb.

Muslims were angered both by the association of their religion with terrorism and by the showing of images of Muhammad, which most consider blasphemous in and of themselves.

Anger over the Jyllands Posten cartoons began to build throughout the Muslim world in late 2005; in January 2006 Saudi Arabia reacted by withdrawing its ambassador to Denmark.

The following month newspapers in several other countries, including Charlie Hebdo in France, published the images in support of the Danish paper.

Anger continued over the following years, with dozens dead in violent protests in several Muslim countries.

In February 2008 Danish police said they had foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist and the following month Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden threatened Europe with a "reckoning" over the affair.

In June of the same year eight people died in a bomb attack on the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Story continues below…

Following the publication of the cartoons in France, two Muslim organisations brought a lawsuit against Charlie Hebdo, but it was thrown out in 2007.

The satirical weekly has linked its decision to return to the controversy this week -- by publishing an issue supposedly "edited" by the Prophet Muhammad -- to recent events in north Africa.

The National Transitional Council in Libya has said the new regime it will create to replace that of Muamma Qaddhafi will be based on Islamic law and in neighbouring Tunisia an Islamic party emerged as the winner in constituent elections.

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Your comments about this article

2011-11-07 17:52:00 by MOI
The comment by asma is scary, I hope you live in Egypt and not France, as your values and politics as well as religion is not compatible with SECULAR FRENCH SOCIETY.
2011-11-03 18:35:42 by Englishted
Comment #1 Says it all it is them and us and I want us to win.
2011-11-03 11:59:14 by jmassucci
In America we are much safer than Europe from petty thuggism. Amazon.com sells "How Fatima Started Islam: Mohammad's Daughter Tells It All" week after week with no problems. Insulting to Islam, unbelievably; Mohammad is depicted as a drunken, cowardly pimp and child molester to stupid to run a fig and coaconut stand nevermind a movement or religion. The picture on the back cover showing Mohammad as a homeless bum after a 3 week bender is highly offensive to orthodox muslims but perhaps humorous to many Americans. These people have to lighten up and allow the world to laugh.
2011-11-02 23:58:24 by asma
Firstly Prophet (Mohammed) was a very handsome person and very smart too ,not such that fool cartoon . we don't ask you to believe in him but at least don't insult him or us . I'm an Egyptian Muslim , and I do believe in my religion , and I believe that the corruption and poverty we have in our society is because we don't apply the Islamic Law, for long years we kept our religion aside and followed you . in fact I don't like the western civilization , it's just a fake one . Do you really have justice and democracy? you are just clowns and liars . Mohammed that you make fun of him could establish the greatest civilization in the whole existence. Muslims for 700 years were the masters of this world but they had a real democracy not a fake one as yours . I think It `s the time Muslims has to get up again we give up with the western democracy.
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