‘Charlie Hebdo’ Not The First Publication To Promote Muslim Satire

Satire in publications is nothing new, even towards Muslims.

The BBC reports that over 100 years before France’s Charlie Hebdo there was Molla Nasreddin.

The name “Molla Nasreddin” was taken from the name of a mullah, or educated man, that was famous throughout the region for his humor and sayings. But even with such a mild name, the magazine was offensive from the start. Conservative Muslims populated the area, were told that if an issue of Molla Nasreddin was found in a Muslim home they were to grab it with tongs and throw it in the toilet.

Issues that the magazine took aim at where women’s rights, education of the poor, the reining regime of both Russia and Persia, and the clerics, whom the writers believed to be enemies of education and a secular society.

Yet, as with Charlie Hebdo, the Muslim satire, along with verbal and visual assaults aimed at geopolitical figures and clerics world wide, came at a cost.

Editor Mirza Jalill was assaulted for his role in the magazine, while Persian mullahs issued a fatwa, or a religious decision by a Muslim scholar, for his death. Yet even under threats of death and assault, Mirza Jalill still continued to publish the magazine.

The magazine published its articles in simple, common language, so that uneducated Azerbaijanis could understand it’s meaning. The cartoons however, needed no explanation.

One popular image showed a father and family celebrating the birth of a son. The image below it showed another family with the father visibly upset at the birth of his daughter. A definite jab at the prevailing opinion towards women.

Another cartoon depicts several clerics and mullahs reading the Koran in a room with children, dogs, and other creatures. The cartoon describes a child, dogs and other creatures treated as dirt unlike the Koran in people’s hands.

There was even one image where the cartoonists drew an image of the Prophet Mohammad, though without his face, having a discussion with Jesus at a Christmas party with other Muslims in the cartoon drinking. The cartoon was poking fun at Muslims that drank alcohol despite their religious convictions.

It wasn’t long after that Mohammed-based cartoon that the magazine folded, refusing to ascribe to Russian ideology, the prevailing dictatorship at that time, and censorship.

Now 100 years later, journalists and cartoonist alike are still dealing with political and religious pressure to censor work. As reported by French newspaper The Local, the International Press Cartoon Festival in Caen, France, has been cancelled due to fears that it could be targeted by terrorists.

The festival has been held for the past four years at the Mémorial de Caen — a museum and war memorial in the Normandy city of Caen. However, since the Charlie Hebdo attack, the museum’s website has been hacked six times, making organizers even more worried that allowing the festival to open this year could result in putting people in danger.

With all of the support that Charlie Hebdo has garnered after the attacks, there are still individuals that support the massacre. An amazing 27 percent of British Muslims stated they agreed and supported the attacks, with some going so far as to say they “identify” with the Islamic terrorists, per the Inquisitr.

Religious satire, be it Muslim or of any other religion in nature, will always find itself the center of controversy. The results are sometimes deadly, as seen in the assault on the staff at Charlie Hebdo.