• France's news in English

Cartoonist's book slams 'Islamophobia swindlers'

AFP · 16 Apr 2015, 08:49

Published: 16 Apr 2015 08:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In the essay to be published Thursday which at times feels chillingly prescient, Charb worries that the fight against racism is being replaced by a struggle against "Islamophobia", which he argues defends Islam more than it does Muslims as citizens who are targeted because of their religion.

He also defends Charlie Hebdo, whose controversial cartoons often landed it in hot water, particularly when it came to caricatures of Prophet Muhammad that saw Charb and colleagues get death threats and eventually led to them being killed.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi burst into an editorial meeting at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris on January 7th, peppering magazine director Charb and nine other cartoonists with bullets before calmly leaving.

They also shot dead a maintenance worker and a policeman who tried to stop them.

Published as a short book called "Letter to the Islamophobia swindlers who play into the hands of racists", the essay was wrapped up and ready to go two days before the attack.

Charb asks why Islamophobia, which technically means "fear of Islam", is being used by activists, media and politicians to denounce hatred of Muslims and wonders why "Muslimophobia" is not used instead, or simply "racism."

He argues that "a lot of those who campaign against Islamophobia don't actually do it to defend Muslims as individuals, but to defend Prophet Muhammad's religion."

Charb also takes a pop at religion, and particularly at believers.

"The problem is not the Koran or the Bible -- sleep-inducing, incoherent and badly written novels -- but the faithful who read the Koran or the Bible like you read assembly instructions for Ikea shelves," he writes.

'A bullet a day'

He blames the media for helping popularize the term "Islamophobia" because "any scandal that contains the word 'Islam' in its title sells."

"A terrorist is scary, but if you add that he's an Islamist, everyone wets themselves."

And he also takes a dig at politicians whom he accuses of seeing Muslims where they should see regular citizens, and wanting to pander to a "Muslim electorate."

"That's saying that the majority of Muslims don't decide their vote according to the candidates' political ideas but according to the degree of sympathy they display towards Muslims," he argues.

Story continues below…

Charb also defends Charlie Hebdo's controversial depictions of the prophet and extremism over the years, which earned it accusations of Islamophobia.

Chillingly, he refers to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's "Inspire" magazine which in 2013 published a list of 11 people accused of "crimes against Islam" and wanted "dead or alive."

"I find my name, badly spelled but accompanied by a photo where you can recognize my alarmed face" -- a picture he said was taken when the offices of the magazine were burnt down in 2011 shortly after a special edition was published under the title "Charia Hebdo."

"The skillful montage is titled 'YES WE CAN' and below you can read: 'a bullet a day keeps the infidel away'."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available