French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo attacked in Paris


Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier: "There is nothing left"

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The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack.

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.

Start Quote

An unmissable staple of newspaper kiosks and railway station booksellers”

End Quote Hugh Schofield on Charlie Hebdo

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."

Mr 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.

Start Quote

Freedom of expression is an inalienable right in our democracy and all attacks on the freedom of the press must be condemned with the greatest firmness. ”

End Quote Francois Fillon French Prime Minister

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.

Police said Charlie Hebdo's headquarters had been petrol-bombed in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

There have been no reports of injuries.

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".

Inside, there is an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons - one showing the Prophet with a clown's red nose.

Depiction of the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam.

In a statement on Tuesday, the magazine said it was motivated by the recent victory of the Islamist Ennadha party in elections in Tunisia, and by indications that sharia law could form the basis of legislation in post-Gaddafi Libya.

The magazine denied it was trying to be provocative.

On Tuesday, Charb told the AFP news agency : "We don't feel like causing further provocation. We simply feel like doing our job as usual. The only difference this week is that Muhammad is on the cover and it's pretty rare to put him on the cover."

Prime Minister Fillon expressed his "indignation" at the attack on the newspaper.

"Freedom of expression is an inalienable right in our democracy and all attacks on the freedom of the press must be condemned with the greatest firmness. No cause can justify such an act of violence," he said in a statement.

The head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, also condemned the attack.

In 2007, Charlie Hebdo reprinted 12 controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first shown in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and caused outrage in the Muslim world.

The magazine was sued for incitement to racism by two Islamic groups in France, but was acquitted by a Paris court.

The BBC's Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield says Charlie Hebdo has a long track record of irreverence to all religions.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    Where can I get my copy?
    I suggest making it freely available as a download - great publicity, and you can't firebomb the Internet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    What purpose does it serve to offend believers in a mainstream religion of the world?
    Is the possibly smug satisfaction of the instigators and their narrow audience worth the foreseeable and resulting damage?

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    The BBC has moved somewhat. Not so long ago we would have absolutely no chance of commenting on a subject like this. I am, however, waiting for my comment to be printed!

  • Comment number 131.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    When I first started buying Charlie Hebdo in 1969 Charles de Gaulle and all the other politicians, and Catholic church were all fair game... Radical Islam was not an issue in France back then, or they would have picked on it too; that's what Charlie Hebdo does (well too).
    Fire-bombing, sending death threats and other violent reactions do nothing to further your cause, au contraire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Let's spell this out, because some people seem to have a problem following the logic:
    Charlie Hebdo has made the following "accusation" with its title page: "Islam reacts with violence to minor events".
    Muslims had two ways of reacting to this: 1. With countersatire, statements letters to the editor, etc.; 2. With violence. Choosing option 2 has only made clear that the accusation was justified.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    There are those of us who are civilised and those who seek civilisation through religion, religion is the crutch that many faiths use to hide thier uncivilised practices and intolerances. The need for religion shows how far along certain societies are in thier development and is a good indicator of freedom as religion and its leaders are but men posing the word of god for power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    The fatwa on the representation of Muhammed is down to the prophet (SAW) insisting that he was merely a messenger and NOT to be worshipped. I feel that much of the anger expressed is because good Muslims have forgotten this - he was a man, beloved of Allah indeed, but just a man. It is a blasphemy only to worship an icon, and ask yourself, whoever threw that bomb, just what are you doing?

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    Islam as a religion puts quite serious limitations on minds of her followers. Such media is helpful to break this limitations and free creativity of Muslim population. The editor of magazine could be considered as a teacher or doctor and be protected from obstruction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    It does seem to be the most troublesome religion of the modern day. I have no more of a problem with Islam as I do any of the other fairy tales. But when it is a threat to innocent lives then it becomes an issue that needs addressing. The main problem is how. You can't ban a belief and banning never works anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    The Muslims [albeit the minority engaging in this] are silly to provoke Europeans. We only have to look to recent history to see what the European is cabable of. Judging by what I read online every day there's no shortage of people prepared to repeat the kind of systematic extermination we saw during World War Two. I am unfortunately deadly serious, look at the amount of deleted comments here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    @ Notanothernutter, #54: 6 Jan 2009, Mosman Park, Western Australia, medical centre firebombed and graffitied "Baby killers".

    Also look up "George Tiller" (he was shot, but that was the USA where guns are more readily available).

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    Believers - stop crying like babies when people disagree!

    Man-up, develop thick skins, and don't expect the world to change on your behalf.
    This is an essential part of growing up.

    With freedom of speech & religious expression comes a responsibility: to accept that people will say things that offend you and yet still tolerate their being said.
    Grow up and accept your responsibilities!

  • Comment number 121.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    @Tim: "the real question is one of religious tolerance"

    No it isn't. Muslims, Christians and believers in the tooth fairy are all allowed to have their big imaginary friends. What they are NOT allowed to do is to impose their superstitions on the rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    @ SASH LEWIS yes I think Moslems do feel insecure. They also don't seem to have much faith in their God, if they believe that they have to act in such ways on their God's behalf. An almighty God who created the universe and everything in it should be able to handle a bit of satire himself and be capable of any devine any punishment as necessary in this life or the next.

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    I am absolutely sick of hearing "you must understand islam". No!! I don't need to understand islam or any other religion!

    It is the followers of islam and all other religions who need to understand and respect the laws of the country they are in!

    There has been far too much tolerance of religious groups who use religion as an excuse to behave with absolute disrespect of other people. No more!

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Just another false flag attack attributed to Islam or muslims.

  • Comment number 116.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    "Religion is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions" - albert einstein
    And its done more damage to humanity than anything ever


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