French magazine prints cartoons depicting Muhammad

CNN | Reuters | Associated Press
French embassies and schools in 20 countries will be closed Friday, the country’s government announced after the French humor magazine Charlie Hebdo printed cartoons, some of them crude, depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims believe Muhammad should not be visually represented.

Charlie Hebdo’s website is down, so I can’t see the cover, but a Reuters report says it:

showed an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair and several caricatures of the Prophet were included on its inside pages, including some of him naked.

Charlie Hebdo Editor Stephane Charbonnier told a French TV station his magazine lampoons the news of the week, which for this cycle, obviously, includes the derogatory film about Muhammad made by some Americans. “It’s more turning in derision this grotesque film than to make fun of Mohammad,” Charbonnier said.

In CNN’s video report, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz says controversy over the cartoons is “just a big deal built by the media.” Correspondent Jim Bitterman characterizes the magazine’s arguments thus: “A: It’s freedom of the press; and B: You don’t have to buy the magazine.” The cartoons, he notes, aren’t on the magazine’s cover.

Charlie Hebdo has published cartoons of Muhammad at least twice before, once reprinting the Danish cartoons that caused so much trouble in 2005 and last year putting a drawing of Muhammad on the cover of the magazine with the legend “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” (CNN translates this more literally.) The magazine’s offices were firebombed. French police are currently guarding the magazine’s offices.

In 2011, The Daily Beast put together a photo gallery of the “12 Most Shocking Charlie Hebdo Covers,” including one showing Michael Jackson’s skeleton with the coverline “Finally white.”

The Associated Press quotes French foreign minister Laurent Fabius as saying Charlie Hebdo could be throwing “oil on the fire.”

Related: Egyptian prosecutor charges American makers of anti-Islamic video with insulting Islam (CNN) | Anti-Islam ads will appear in New York subways starting next week (The New York Times)

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  • Anonymous

    Correction front cover cartoon says in French: “Faut pas se moquer!” and it seems the rabbi is speaking to the Imam, and it means “One mustn’t mock us!” or even “We must not mock ourselves” as the “se moquer” makes it kind of like mocking oneself. Harmless, no? But inside the toons were more hurftul and blast-phemious to coin a new word and probably also sophmoric in anger. C’est la vie.

  • Anonymous

    I can see the cover in the CHINA POST newspaper in Taiwan, color photo. Shows a man reading the back of the magazine, so viewers of the photo are shown the front cover with a large cover cartoon of a dorky Orthodox Jewy rabbi pushing a dorky turbaned Islamo figure in a wheelchair and the caption in French reads “Je ne peux pas moquera!” something like ” I can’t mock anyone anymore!” Nothing hurtful there, rather quote and funny and SOPHOMORIC!

  • Anonymous

    LG is right on. news writers SHOULD write “the day when believers say Jesus rose from the dead” just as they do for Asian religions when they write “Buddhists chanted songs which they believe will bring them good luck in the next life” and Mohammed as Jesus should be treated as “alleged prophets” or in JC case, “the alleged son of God” since not all readers believe that psychbabble. Treat all religions equally, eg, with qualifiers. Jesus IS NOT IN FACT the son of any god, and Mohammend IS NOT IN FACT any god or prophet, just a scmuck like all those Middle East “prophets” from Moses onward, and I can say that.

  • Anonymous

    I’m tired of seeing and reading newspaper accounts calling Mohammed “The Prophet”. They SHOULD say or write “Mohammed whom believers in Islam call “The Prophet”. Same thing with Christian mythology: on “Easter” they sometimes refer to Jesus’s “resurrection” when they should say or write: “the day when believers in Christ say Jesus was raised from the dead”.