The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Another French paper reprints cartoons


The French weekly Charlie-Hebdo, with a long tradition of iconoclastic and satirical reporting, has republished the infamous Danish cartoons today, Le Monde reports.

Its cover, showed above, features Prophet Mohammed weeping under the headline "Mohammed overwhelmed by fanatics" as the prophet himself mutters "It's hard to be loved by assholes." It's drawn by legendary French political cartoonist Cabu.

The paper usually prints about 100,000 issues, but most were gone by mid-morning so they decided to print an additional 60,000 to be distributed tomorrow. The issue carries 11 pages of content of the issue, including the 12 original cartoons, new cartoons about Mohammed, Islam and other religions by French cartoonists, as well as reporting and opinion articles.

In the lead editorial, editor-in-chief Gerard Biard says:
We must not hurt the feelings of believers, reasonable people and yoghurt salesmen tell us. We are open to debate. However, for this debate to take place, the believers must first cease physically hurting those who do not have the exact same beliefs as they do, or answer pen and pencil with dagger and bomb belt.
Included in the package is an editorial defending freedom of expression by Tewfik Allal, from a group of secular Muslims. Religious Muslim associations in France have threatened to sue the paper and accused Charlie Hebdo of fanning the flames. President Jacques Chirac had condemned the publication of the cartoons:

Anything that could slur the beliefs of others, particularly religious beliefs, must be avoided. Freedom of expression must take place in a spirit of responsibility. While freedom of expression is a foundation of the republic, the latter is also based on values of tolerance and the respect of all faiths.
He also repeated a previous condemnation of violence and said governments were responsible for the protection of foreign embassies and people in their territories.