French satirical paper attacked over Islam issue

PARIS – The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack, according to the BBC. It comes a day after the publication named the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor-in-chief” for its next issue. The cover of the magazine carried a caricature of the Prophet making a facetious comment.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has described the petrol-bombing as an unjustifable attack on the freedom of the press. The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press. He said: “If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.”

Charbonnier, also known as Charb, said he did not see the attack on the magazine as the work of French Muslims, but of what he called “idiot extremists”. The magazine said Wednesday’s edition was intended to “celebrate” the victory of an Islamist party in last month’s Tunisian elections. Charb said the magazine had received several threats on Twitter and Facebook before the attack. “This is the first time we have been physically attacked, but we won’t let it get to us,” he said. Charlie Hebdo’s website has also been hacked with a message in English and Turkish attacking the magazine. The edition of the paper published on Wednesday was called Charia Hebdo – a play on the Islamic word sharia. The cover shows Muhammad saying: “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter”.

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