It was cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad that first led to death threats for French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo several years ago, and now news outlets worldwide are re-publishing these controversial cartoons in the wake of the massacre at the magazine’s headquarters.
On Wednesday, terrorists invaded the magazine’s headquarters in Paris, killing 12 people including several cartoonists. The massacre led to a wave of support for Charlie Hebdo, including several newspapers and magazines printing cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammad.
Depictions of the Prophet Mohammad are forbidden in Islam, and outlets that have published these pictures have received death threats in the past.
The Weekend Australian newspaper published a cartoon by Bill Leak that showed Jesus and Mohammad sitting together in heaven. Jesus is holding the Koran, telling Mohammad that it “needs a sequel,” just as the Bible has an Old and New Testament.
Mohammad responds by showing a newspaper with the headline “World at War” and saying that he cannot return to earth because he would be “crucified.”
The cartoon was especially controversial, as it appears to criticize both the Prophet Mohammad and the Koran, the sacred book for Muslims. This also followed a similar cartoon published in Charlie Hebdo that showed a Muslim militant unknowingly executing Mohammad, referring to him as an infidel.
The Weekend Australian said the cartoon was meant to send a message about not being afraid to criticize any person or group.
“Whether deliberate or not, one of the most damaging aspects of this atrocity,” the newspaper said of the Paris attack, “is that it hit our civilisation in a place already shaping as our Achilles Heel — a spineless and growing penchant for political correctness.”
“Over recent years, in the face of the perpetually outraged, our pluralistic, democratic and free societies have gradually been yielding on our hard-won freedom of expression,” it added.
Many other news outlets have published Mohammad cartoons in the wake of the massacre, including many reprinted from past Charlie Hebdo issues. The Danish newspaper Berlingske republished a series of the magazine’s cartoons on Thursday, including many showing the Prophet Mohammad.
“We will print them as documentation of what kind of a magazine it was that has been hit by this terrible event,” said Berlingske’s editor in chief, Lisbeth Knudsen.
The Berlingske was joined by Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper, which republished a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad that originally appeared in Charlie Hebdo.
[Image via BBC]