03 November 2011

Charia Hebdo

Charia Hebdo
Arsonists have burned down the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week, after the satirical newspaper published a special edition 'guest-edited' by Mohammed yesterday. The issue, titled Charia Hebdo, in a pun on Islamic Sharia law, featured a front-page caricature of Mohammed saying: "100 lashes if you don't die laughing!", and a back-page cartoon of him with a red nose. (Visual depictions of Mohammed's face are strictly forbidden by the Koran.) The front-page image is by Renald Luzier (known as Luz); the back-page cartoon is by Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, the newspaper's editor. There are also ten small Mohammed cartoons throughout the newspaper, all by Luz.

The provocative cover image was reprinted in various newspapers yesterday, including the New York Post, the London Evening Standard, Tribune De Geneve, Le Monde, Liberation, Le Figaro, Blick Am Abend, and La Repubblica. Charlie Hebdo also caused controversy in 2006 with its previous Mohammed cover, printed in reaction to Muslim protests against Mohammed caricatures in Jyllands-Posten. Charlie Hebdo's first Mohammed cartoon appeared in 2002.

Jyllands-Posten, in Denmark, published twelve Mohammed cartoons in 2005, causing protests around the world. Many publications subsequently printed their own Mohammed cartoons in solidarity with Jyllands-Posten: Weekendavisen, France Soir, The Guardian, Philadelphia Daily News, Le Monde, Het Nieuwsblad, The Daily Tar Heel, Akron Beacon Journal, The Strand, Nana, International Herald Tribune, Gorodskiye Vesti, Adresseavisen, Uke-Adressa, and Harper's.

Equally provocative drawings of Mohammed as a dog were exhibited in 2007. The short film Fitna also includes a Mohammed cartoon, and there was an Everybody Draw Mohammed Day! event last year.

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