French magazine Charlie Hebdo reproduced the image with other caricatures in a special supplement distributed with one of the country’s leading newspapers.
The weekly Charlie Hebdo defended “the freedom to poke fun” in the four-page supplement, which was wrapped around copies of the left-wing daily Liberation on Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place hours before an edition of Charlie Hebdo hit news stands featuring a cover-page cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”
The weekly, known for its irreverent treatment of the political establishment and religious figures, bore the headline “Charia Hebdo,” in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and said that week’s issue had been guest-edited by Mohammad.
While French Muslim groups criticized Charlie Hebdo’s work, they also condemned the fire-bomb attack. The head of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, told a news conference on Thursday: “I am extremely attached to freedom of the press, even if the press is not always tender with Muslims, Islam or the Paris Mosque.”
“French Muslims have nothing to do with political Islam,” he said.
Abderrahmane Dahmane, a Muslim former presidential adviser on religious diversity, said he was not shocked by the Charlie Hebdo front-page and joked himself about the matter.
“We have a sense of humor in the world of Islam … what we sometimes say about Islam and the prophet, among ourselves and in the presence of Imams, is worse than what Charlie Hebdo wrote,” he quipped.
France has Europe’s largest Muslim community, numbering about five million out of an overall population of 65 million. The country has a deep tradition of official secularism and adopted a ban this year on women wearing face-covering veils in public.
Charbonnier told Reuters his newspaper planned to print another 175,000 copies of this week’s edition in the coming days after the first print run of 75,000 copies sold out fast.
News Source: Reuters