The 21st Century Phenomenon



French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo published, on Wednesday 09/19/2012, cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, a move challenges the freedom of speech in France and criticised by the French authorities which sent riot police to protect the magazine’s offices.Issues of the magazine Charlie-Hebdo hit newsstands with a front cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair with several caricatures of the Prophet on its inside pages, including some of him naked.

The front page cartoon had the wheelchair-bound figure saying “You mustn’t mock” under the headline “Untouchable 2”, a reference to a hugely popular French movie about a paralysed rich white man and his black assistant.

The publication came amid widespread outrage over the short film “Innocence Of Muslims” that mocks the Prophet and has ignited days of sometimes deadly protests in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and some Western countries (see also – Fitna-movie).

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticised the move as a “provocation” and said he had ordered security beefed up at French diplomatic offices in the Muslim world.

Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices were fire bombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Mohammad. In 2005, Danish Muhammad Cartoons of the Prophet sparked a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world that killed at least 50 people.

The government has called for restraint over the cartoons, restating the principles of free speech in France and urging those shocked by the images to take action through the courts.

Muslim leaders in France, which has Europe’s largest Muslim population, have appealed for calm. The battle for freedom of speech as a core western Democratic value is raging on (see also -Cultural Conflict ). 


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