The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has gone ahead and thrown fuel on the fire of those who consider religion outside the legitimate realm of criticism. The magazine, which purposefully goes out to offend all religions – or perhaps just to offend as many people as possible – has published a special issue with caricatures mocking Islam. Particularly in the midst of riots and demonstrations sweeping the Islamic world, and now spreading across Europe following the posting of an anti-Islamic video on YouTube, the cartoons will raise the flames higher.
The magazine’s editor, “Stéphane Charbonnier, said the weekly published the cartoons in defense of freedom of the press, adding that the images “would shock only those who wanted to be shocked.” is quite aware of what he’s doing.
PARIS (AP) — A French magazine published vulgar caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad on Wednesday, inflaming global tensions over a movie insulting to Islam and prompting France to step up security at embassies.
The move by provocative weekly Charlie Hebdo followed days of violent protests from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film “Innocence of Muslims,” and turned France into a potential target, too. Up to now, American government sites have drawn the most ire.
Violence linked to the amateurish movie, which portrays the prophet as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester, has killed at least 30 people in seven countries, including the American ambassador to Libya.
As Al-Arabiya TV reports, the French are, as a result of the publication, increasing security at its embassies in nearly 100 countries:
The French Prime Minister is giving qualified support to the magazine:
Questioned on RTL radio, he added: “We are in a country where the freedom of expression is guaranteed, along with the freedom to caricature. If people really feel their beliefs are offended and think the law has been broken – and we are in a state where the law must be totally respected — they can go to the courts.”
UPDATE: I utterly neglected to mention that Saudi Arabia has asked YouTube to block the obnoxious “The Innocents of Muslims” video that has caused all the ruckus. YouTube has agreed. There is some discussion that had YouTube not blocked the video, YouTube in its entirety would have been blocked in the Kingdom.