A Satire Draws Fire

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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Here we go again. Charlie Hebdo, a humor magazine in Paris which had produced a spoof issue “guest edited” by, as The New York Times and other media outlets refer to him, the “Prophet Mohammed,” was firebombed early Wednesday just as the special edition was on its way to the newsstands. Hackers had also disrupted its website with a message in English and Turkish cursing the magazine: “You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be God’s curse upon you!”

The magazine had announced the special issue in satirical salute to the “Arab Spring” victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections: “Charlie Hebdo has asked Mohammed to be the special editor-in-chief of its next issue,” the magazine said in a statement. “The prophet of Islam didn’t have to be asked twice and we thank him for it.” It renamed itself Charia Hebdo, a pun on the word “shariah,” for the occasion, and featured an editorial by Mohammed entitled “Halal Aperitif” and a women’s supplement called “Madam Sharia.” On the cover was a cartoon of Mohammed announcing, “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”

But Islamic law forbids depictions of its prophet, and as Iran’s glowering Ayatollah Khomeini once famously remarked, “There is no fun in Islam.” Muslim fundamentalists were apparently not amused by the magazine’s mocking tone, and a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of Charlie Hebdo’s offices in the wee hours of the morning, devastating the premises.

Its editor, Stephane Charbonnier, said,

We can’t put out the magazine under these conditions. The stocks are burned, smoke is everywhere, the paste-up board is unusable, everything is melted, there’s no more electricity.

But the issue will appear as scheduled and the magazine’s website appears to have been restored.

Charbonnier said the magazine had received “quite a few letters of protest, threats, insults” on Twitter and Facebook before the attack, but not as many as in 2007 when the publication, with a track record of offending all religions, was criticized by Muslims for reprinting the infamous “Danish cartoons” that caused violent outrage around the Muslim world.

The editor did not see the attack as the work of French Muslims, but of “idiot extremists,” though he did not clarify what kind. He said the attackers could not even have read the offending magazine:

The arsonists haven’t read this paper, nobody knows what’s in the paper except those who buy it this morning. People are reacting violently to a paper without knowing anything of its contents, that’s what’s most abhorrent and stupid.

Actually, what’s most abhorrent and stupid is that Islamic fundamentalists like the 57-member (56 Muslim nations and the Palestinian territories) Organization of the Islamic Cooperation have made the criminalization of any criticism of Islam their top priority, and too many dhimmis in the West, like the Obama administration, are facilitating their demands.

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  • Ken

    The fanatics want a one-way street where they can bash other religions and groups while keeping theirs from ever having to be used in satire or other articles where it is "abused". This will not change until the age of obscene political correctness ends. And, last time I checked, not everyone is subject to Sharia Law, so they are not bound by its rules.

  • PatriotX

    Once again, I feel the almost irresitable urge to draw a picture of this dude’s face on a donkey and fly it like a kite over Mecca. I guess it’s just that dark rebel surfacing again.

    I wonder what would happen if all of those who are tired of this nonsense just formed an alliance and spread a virus all throughout the world wide web, of Muhammad’s picture plastered on a sex offender’s list of pedophiles. I mean, just stand up and say, “YEA JACKASS I DID IT, ….WELL WHAT?….WHAT?…..YEA…WE ALL DID IT….WHAT?!!!!” It reminds me of grade school when some wannabe gangster jumped all bad and said “you better not do it” and of course this was the green light for everyone to do what ticked him off.

    I bet if people just stood their ground and spoke out against it they would just back up and check themselves. The threat of violence like this in the U.S. is probably unlikely because of all the gun wielding citizens with not so friendly attitudes towards Muslims at the moment. They use other methods like our pathetic justice system and American hating, left leaning, socialist reporters to help them impose their culture and criminalize those who speak out against it.

  • http://satanstrinity.com C"H"Martel

    in celebration of free speech:
    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad, is available at http://satanstrinity.wordpress.com/ For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. This book uses the specific names of Hitler and Stalin to efficiently identify the nature of Muhammad and by extension Islam. It compares the personalities and approach of each man to such categories as; war, peace, sex, torture, slavery, women, their respective childhoods and deaths, the critical affects of geography and timing, each man’s anti-social and narcissistic personalities.
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=CHMar

  • pagegl

    It really is time for another "Draw a cartoon of Mohammed" campaign.

  • Ghostwriter

    That's no way for Islam to earn respect among anyone. If you can't even laugh at yourself without burning something down,then there's something wrong with you.

  • stuart Parsons

    If Muslims would take the trouble to read THEIR OWN source material, the Quran, Sunnah and Sirahs of the 'Prophet', they would learn their self-proclaimed 'Prophet and Messenger' actually murdered all who spoke out against him and with the support of his deluded booty and sex motivated followers, he lied, plotted, tortured, killed, robbed, ransomed and raped his way to total political and religious power.

    Islam is a far, far, far greater threat to the well-being of mankind than Fascism and Communism ever were.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Some people just can't take a joke………………….blew up the paper, good grief,
    Islam on how to win friends and influence people…………………..William

  • steven l

    Violence the exclusive prerogative of Mohamed and his ilks.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    You don’t negotiate the freedom of the press with bombs,” she continued, and then added rather comically that “If you are not happy with what’s in a newspaper, you take it to court.”

    Like the mainstream orthodox Muslims that live in France's 758 Muslim no-zones ruled by Sharia as fifth columns respects the manmade laws of France.

    The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) did just that in 2007, taking Charlie Hebdo to court over the Danish cartoons, but lost. As for the magazine’s most recent offense against Islam, CFCM head Mohammed Moussaoui asserted that his organization deplores “the very mocking tone of the paper toward Islam and its prophet but reaffirms with force its total opposition to all acts and all forms of violence.”

    How about all non-violent stealth and deceptive forms of jihad though, such as mass Muslim immigration to France for the purpose of demographic conquest?