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 the comment: 100 lashes if you don't
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has described the petrol-bombing as an unjustifable attack on the freedom of the press.
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.
Charbonnier 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,
Inside, there is an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons - one showing the Prophet with a clown's red nose.
Charlie Hebdo's website has also been hacked with a message in English and Turkish attacking the magazine.
Offsite Comment: The dangers of mixing satire and Islam
In a world that has been getting safer, one religion is stubbornly holding on to a violent past. I'm not going to call for ordinary Muslims to denounce terror. They do, fairly regularly. But it would be nice to think that one day in the
not-too-distant future we in the newspaper industry can make bad jokes about Mohammed as often as we do about Christ, without fear of brutal reprisals. In fact, the right note to end on is to congratulate Christianity worldwide for leaving its
savage past behind: let's hope Islam can follow.
Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have slammed Facebook for threatening to terminate the account of a French weekly
whose offices were firebombed after publishing images of the Prophet Mohammed.
RSF noted with irony that Charlie Hebdo's staff could no longer edit comments on its Facebook wall , including those inciting violence, while the enemies of freedom of expression could continue to post hate messages.
Apparently Facebook sent a warning messgae to Charlie Hebdo:
Facebook has just discovered opportunely that Charlie Hebdo 'is not a real person', something that breaks the site's rules.
The content that you have published on Facebook has been deleted for breaking (Facebook) rules. Postings with graphic, sexually explicit or excessively revealing content are banned.
This message is a warning. Another infraction will result in the account being terminated.
Charlie Hebdo journalist Valerie Manteau said that the newspaper has now taken down its Facebook page voluntarily and as a temporary measure because it could not edit the comments.
It is extremely worrying to notice that the social network seems to fall on the side of censorship and restricting the freedom to inform, said RSF, noting that Facebook had already closed the pages of several dissidents.
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose office was firebombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, has
reproduced the images in a special supplement distributed with Liberation, one of the country's leading newspapers.
The weekly defended the freedom to poke fun in the four-page supplement, which was included with copies of the left-wing daily on Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo's Paris headquarters.
After provoking all the above with last week's special edition guest edited by the prophet Muhammad, entitled Charia Hebdo, the publication is set to raise a few more hackles with this week's edition.
On the front page of the latest edition is a drawing of a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist passionately kissing a Muslim man, under the headline: love is stronger than hate.
In the background of the cartoon are the ashes of the magazine's offices, completely destroyed in an arson attack last week. Unlike the previous edition, there is no suggestion that the character on the magazine cover is Mohammed.
Since the arson attack, the magazine's staff have been given a temporary home in the offices of France's leading leftwing daily newspaper Liberation, which has also been subject to threats from the Turkish hackers.
The attack on the magazine and on free speech has been widely condemned. Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of the satirical weekly on Sunday.
The president of SOS Racism was among the supporters, declaring that: In a democracy, the right to blaspheme is absolute.
The editor of Charlie Hebdo said: We need a level playing field. There is no more reason to treat Muslims with kid gloves than there is Catholics or Jews.
Also attending the demonstration were the editor of Liberation, the Mayor of Paris, a presidential candidate, and the novelist Tristane Banon.
Hundreds of hardline Islamists protested peacefully outside France's embassy in Cairo after prayers on Friday against the French
satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that published cartoons of Mohammed, the state MENA news agency reported.
The news agency quoted Khaled Said, the spokesman of the Salafi group that organised the protest, as warning of an escalation in peaceful measures against French interests, including a boycott of French goods.
The Islamist said his group demonstrated after the French government described the affair as a freedom of speech issue.
Easily offended French Muslims are taking satirical paper Charlie Hebdo to court for blasphemy over a front
page insult of the Koran.
A court in Strasbourg set the hearing into Charlie Hebdo's supposed blasphemy for 7 April.
A Muslim legal defence group brought the case over a front page headlined The Koran is shit .
Blasphemy is not an offence in France. The trial will be a test case because, although it bans public insulting religious communities established on the territory , the agreement on the law only recognises Catholicism, three forms of
Protestantism and Judaism.
A hearing has also been set for the 7 April in a case against former decentralisation minister Claude Goasguen that accuses him of offending the honour and dignity of the Muslim community . Speaking to a gala organised by a pro-Israel
group, KKL, Goasguen claimed that the history of the Holocaust could no longer be taught in French schools because people are so scared of the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques .
Lawyer Khadija Aoudia, acting for one of France's two major Muslim associations, the CFCM, said that media coverage of Goasguen's remarks feed Islamophobia and create a strong feeling of rejection .
Muslim terrorists have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo .
Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car.
President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack of exceptional barbarity .
The masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris, where they hijacked a second car.
Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad and God is Great in Arabic ( Allahu Akbar ).
French media have named the three other cartoonists killed in the attack as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor and French economist Bernard Maris.
The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its irreverent take on news and current affairs. It was firebombed in November 2011 a day after it carried a caricature of the religious character Muhammad.
Tens of thousands took to the streets in Europe to show their solidarity with those killed by gunmen at the offices of
satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The scenes were replicated across France, in London and around the world with crowds holding placards bearing the slogan Je Suis Charlie. Others were seen carrying enlarged versions of the some of the newspaper's anti-Islamist cartoons.
Meanwhile the website of French newspaper Le Monde last night showed an interactive map of vigils being held across the world in Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, and as far afield as Tunis, Lima, Rio de
Janeiro and Madagascar.
In London, hundreds of people filled Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil for those killed when masked gunmen stormed the newspaper's headquarters. Many held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air to show their support for the journalists,
cartoonists and police officers who lost their lives.
The Heart is in defying censorship, but the mind says otherwise
Whilst there is a spirit of defying censorship, practicality, and fear of being killed, has rather dictated that self censorship has increased across the world.
Following a deadly terror attack Wednesday morning on the offices of Charlie Hebdo , a satirical French newspaper known for lampooning religion with caricature-based cartoons, many outlets have censored their coverage of the publication's
depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.
And a bizarre response from Associated Press, the agency censored images of Christ over some politically correction notion of fairness after censoring images of Mohammed. An
at Gawker.com explains:
Politico's Dylan Byers reports that the Associated Press removed an image of Andres Serrano's 1987 photo Piss Christ from its photo library in the wake of today's deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Removing images of the artwork seems preposterous. I searched AP's library for Piss Christ before this post went up found at least one photo of Serrano posing in front of his most well-known work , which depicts a crucifix submerged in the
artist's own urine. But a few minutes later, it was gone. What gives?
In fact the AP pulled the photos after the conservative Washington Examiner noted that it pixelated Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting Mohammad but left images of Piss Christ intact.
Nick Cohen writing in the Spectator
suggests that defiance will probably be short lived, and it won't be long before free speech gets re-relegated back to its proper place below the right to not be 'offended'.
Tonight everyone is defiant. I am just back from a Je suis Charlie vigil in Trafalgar Square, and the solidarity was good to see. I fear it won't last. I may be wrong. Perhaps tomorrow's papers and news programmes will prove their
commitment to freedom by republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
But I doubt they will even have the courage to admit that they are too scared to show them. Instead we will have insidious articles, which condemn freedom of speech as a provocation and make weasel excuses for murder without having the guts to
The Financial Times was first out of the blocks:
Charlie Hebdo is a bastion of the French tradition of hard-hitting satire. It has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling Muslims.
The writer forgot to add that Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling everyone. It is a satirical magazine in a free country: that is what it does.
Index on Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, PEN America, FreeWord, Reporters
Without Borders, Article 19 and English PEN call on all those who believe in the fundamental right to freedom of expression to join in publishing the cartoons or covers of Charlie Hebdo on January 8 at 1400 GMT.
We believe that only through solidarity, in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely, can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech. We ask media organisations, individuals and everyone
who supports free speech to join together in this action.
Each publication will select a cartoon, a range of cartoons, or covers that they believe best reflect the right to free expression and publish at the same time globally. The idea is a moment of unity in which we show that together we stand up for
journalism and the right to free speech, no matter what, and to show our support and respect for those killed on January 7.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship said:
The ability to express ourselves freely is fundamental to a free society. This includes the freedom to publish, to satirise, to joke, to criticise, even when that might cause offence to others. Those who wish to silence free speech must never be
allowed to prevail.
Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center said:
Satire is both a privilege and a necessity in a free society. The freedom to question, to expose, to mock ultimately makes institutions, belief systems, and leaders stronger. The resort to murderous vengeance for the crime of drawing and
publishing cartoons represents a terrifying perversion of religious values and an assault on our shared values. No matter how offensive, speech is never a justification for violence.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein said:
The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is tragic, but it is also proof of just how powerful cartoons and cartoonists can be. Despite threats and prior attacks, the publishers, editors, and cartoonists of Charlie Hedbo never relented in using
satire to question the world around them. CBLDF stands with Charlie Hebdo and their dedication to free expression.
Lucie Morillon, Programme Director, Reporters Without Borders said:
This unspeakable act of violence has challenged and assailed the entire press Journalism as whole is in mourning. In the name of all those who have fallen in the defence of these fundamental values, we must continue Charlie Hebdo's fight for the
right to freedom of information.
Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said:
This is a time for all writers, publishers, editors, artists and free speech groups to stand in solidarity. In the face in one of the most devastating attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Europe's recent history, we need to
reaffirm our commitment to speaking out and standing up for free speech. This action today is the first step.
Supporters of the call
Some of the publications and organisations joining us at this hour include:
Publishing Muhammad cartoons would have been too risky, says Amol Rajan Editor of Independent newspaper said he had to balance principle with pragmatism, despite wanting to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the front page
After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those Fighting the Religious-Right
The persistent demand for the extension of blasphemy laws around the world is a real danger for all. France has a long, and now growingly endangered, tradition of secularism; which allows dissent from religions and the right to express this
dissent. It has had a rich tradition to mock and caricature powers that be, religious or otherwise. Let us keep this hard won right which cost so many lives in history, and, alas, still does, as Charlie Hebdo's twelve dead and numerous
7th February 2015, One day conference near London Kings Cross 9am registration; 10am-5:30pm
Speakers at the 7 February conference will include Activist Ahmed Idris, Campaigner for Secular Education Aliyah Saleem, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Amal Farah, Activist Atoosa Khatiri, Secular Activist Chris Moos,
Director of the Centre for Secular Space Gita Sahgal, Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco Imad Iddine Habib, Spokesperson of One Law for All Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Nahla Mahmoud, Human
Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell, Southall Black Sisters Director Pragna Patel, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland Ramin Forghani, Nari Diganta's Rumana Hashem, National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson and Women's Rights Campaigner Yasmin
Charlie Hebdo plans to publish a journal des survivants next week,
as pledges of money and other forms of support continue to pour in from media organisations in France and elsewhere.
About 20 surviving Charlie Hebdo staff gathered at the offices of French newspaper Liberation, for their first editorial meeting since the terrorist attack on its Paris headquarters in which 12 people, including eight of the title's journalists
and two policemen, were killed.
Those at the table included the cartoonist Luz, who escaped the carnage because he was late on Wednesday, reporter Laurent Leger, columnist Patrick Pelloux and the paper's lawyer, Richard Malka.
The journalists asked for their privacy to be respected while they work on next Wednesday's special survival edition, which will be limited to eight pages instead of the usual 16. A million copies are to be printed, a huge increase on its
usual 60,000 print run.
The Liberation building, located close to the Charlie Hebdo premises, is now under armed police guard. Visitors are only allowed in with a specific invitation from a staff member and have to leave via the adjacent car park.
Prime minister, Manuel Valls and culture minister, Fleur Pellerin have promised 1 million euro to the paper to guarantee its survival. The Guardian Media Group has pledged £100,000, while more funding has come from the TV station Canal+ and Le
Monde which has supplied the computers.
Asked about the irony of the French state propping up the deliberately provocative Charlie Hebdo, one Liberation staff member said: It's normal. This is a democracy.
The BBC got in a tangle about its own rules banning the representation of the religious character Muhammad in any shape or form , it has emerged
after a Charlie Hebdo cover featured on BBC1's flagship 10pm news on Thursday.
The news bulletin featured library footage of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, who was shot and killed in Wednesday's terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine's Paris offices, holding up a special edition of the magazine four
years ago featuring a cartoon of Muhammad on its front page threatening readers with a hundred lashes if you don't die laughing .
It appeared to contradict the BBC's own editorial guidelines which were coincidentally read out on BBC1's Question Time , which followed the news.
Question Time presenter David Dimbleby said: I wouldn't be doing my duty if I didn't read this out from the BBC editorial guidelines. Dimbleby quoted extensively from a section of the guidelines on the use of still photographs and
images which said:
Due care and consideration must be made regarding the use of religious symbols in images which may cause offence.
The Prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.
The BBC1 programme also tweeted a link to the BBC guidelines but the page had been censored by Friday afternoon.
The BBC then made up some bollox about the guidelines being in the process of being revised. The BBC said in a statement:
This guidance is old, out of date and does not reflect the BBC's long-standing position that programme makers have freedom to exercise their editorial judgement with the editorial policy team available to provide advice around sensitive issues on
a case-by-case basis.
A German newspaper that reprinted the Muhammad cartoons from the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo has
been the target of an arson attack. No one was hurt in the attack.
Several stones and an incendiary device were thrown through the window of the archive of the regional tabloid daily, the Hamburger Morgenpost, early on Sunday morning. The paper had printed three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the
Paris massacre, running the headline This much freedom must be possible!
A police spokesman told AFP:
Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window. Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.
Two people were detained and an investigation has begun, police said. Police declined to provide further information about the suspects, but it is assumed that they are muslims.
Around 1.5 million people take to the streets of Paris on Sunday in a show of defiance and unity against muslim terrorism.
Dozens of world leaders joining the millions of people marching to commemorate and celebrate the victims of last week's terror attacks. The interior ministry said there were too many people to count but most estimates put it at somewhere between
1.5 million and 2 million. And an estimated 3.7 million took to the streets across the whole country.
Parisiens of all ages, religions and nationalities turned out to show their respect for the victims and their support for the values of the Republic. On est tous Charlie (We are all Charlie), they chanted, waving French flags, singing La
Marseillaise, brandishing pens, pencils, placards and banners in French, English and Arabic.
On a political and diplomatic level, it was unparalleled. Protocol rules were ignored as around 50 world leaders congregated in the French capital. Presidents, prime ministers, statesmen and women took buses from the Elysee palace to join the
march from Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation, two of Paris's best-known squares.
Charlie Hebdo staff, including those who survived Wednesday's attack, wore white headbands bearing the name Charlie.
The offices of a Belgian newspaper that republished cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were evacuated on
Sunday after receiving an anonymous bomb threat.
The evacuation of Le Soir, a French-language daily, came as thousands of people marched through Brussels in solidarity with France following Islamist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and other sites.
Meanwhile in Ireland , a Muslim lecturer has said that he would consider legal advice if a member of the Irish media retweets or publishes a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed from Charlie Hebdo, The Journal.ie reported.
Ali Selim, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland was asked by Niall Boylan on the 4FM radio programme if he retweeted the cartoon would his life be in danger? Selim replied: Not your life would be in danger but definitely we will check the
Irish law and if there is any legal channel against you, we will take it.
The front cover of Wednesday's edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the first since
last week's attack on its offices that left 12 people dead, is a cartoon of Muhammad.
The cover shows the prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading Je suis Charlie in sympathy with the dead journalists. The headline says All is forgiven . A record 3m copies are to be printed, in 16 languages.
The cover cartoon was drawn by the weekly's cartoonist Luz, who survived the massacre because he was late arriving at the office.
Newspapers around Europe, including Liberation, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine have used the image online. The BBC showed it briefly during a newspaper review on Newsnight. In the US, the Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Wall Street
Journal. The Guardian is running this cover as its news value warrants publication.
A Turkish court has ordered the telecommunications censor to ban access to websites showing Charlie Hebdo's front cover with the image of the
religious character Muhammad, a state-run news agency said.
The Anadolu Agency said the ban, which would block access to the websites in Turkey, was ordered by a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, according to the Dogan news agency. The decision came from the court, because a lawyer in
Diyarbakir filed a petition saying the websites were a danger to public order.
If, like me, you were watching BBC Question Time on Thursday evening then you will have undoubtedly noticed that the venerable Dimbers dropped something of a bombshell during the opening debate on the Charlie Hebdo murders by referring to BBC
editorial guidance which explicitly prohibited the use of images depicting Mohammed in very clear and unequivocal terms:
The Ministry of Truth seeks investigates the BBC's censorship rules about images of Mohammed
What if Charlie Hebdo had been published in Britain...
...unless of course he insults your religion, then thump him
Pope Francis as said there are limits to freedom of expression, warning that anyone who hurls insults should expect retaliation. The Pope's provocative statement was in reference to last week's terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity ... in freedom of expression, there are limits.
If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.
However he got into a bit of moral tangle by adding
Each person not only has the freedom but also the obligation to say what he thinks in the name of the common good.
But what happens if he criticises religion in the name of the common good, and that the religion considers this criticism to be an insult. Then it seems that a punch is in order.
However the pope draws the line at a punch. He added:
No one can kill in the name of God. This is an aberration.
French President Francois Hollande has affirmed the French right to free speech, saying that anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters
in other countries do not understand France's attachment to freedom of speech.
His remarks come a day after throngs of Muslims around the world held protests against the depiction of Muhammad by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, with some of the demonstrations inevitably turning violent.
In Niger, at least four people were killed in the southern town of Zinder, where protesters set fire to a French cultural center and several churches and attacked Christian shops with clubs and Molotov cocktails, while police responded with tear
gas. Three civilians died, including two who were shot by police during an attack on their station. A police officer was run over and killed, while 45 other people were injured. It was reported that the chanting mob threatened in local Hausa
Charlie is Satan, let hell engulf those supporting Charlie.
Violent demonstrations also occurred in Karachi, Pakistan, where several hundred protesters clashed with police. A photographer with the French news agency AFP was reported to be among three people wounded. Around 300 people from a little known
Pakistani religious group rallied, carrying placards that read Down with Charlie Hebdo and a banner demanding that those drawing the caricatures be hanged. Protests also took place in other major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad and
A Charlie Hebdo poster was burned in the Philippines on Monday as 1,500 people staged a protest march against themagazine.
In Algiers, Algeria, police clashed with demonstrators who threw rocks and bottles around the waterfront area of the capital. Hundreds of people had earlier marched peacefully through the capital, waving placards saying: I am Muhammad. In
Sudan, protesters took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against France and Charlie Hebdo. Some carried large banners bearing such slogans as Death for French and Charlie Hebdo offends the Prophet.
Largely peaceful marches took place in the capitals of West African countries Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.
In Amman, Jordanians gathered to protest against satirical French cartoons, after Friday prayers. In Yemen, protesters gathered Saturday in front of the French Embassy in Sanaa, chanting slogans.
And in the UK a protest will be held in Bradford on Saturday evening. Bradford West MP George Galloway is scheduled to be among the speakers at the event.
It is now eight days since a murderous gang set about killing cartoonists because they had blasphemed and Jews because they were Jews.
Since then, we have gone from revulsion at the acts of the killers to an obsessive focus on the actions of their victims (or at least their victims at Charlie Hebdo: there is relatively little discussion of the slain shoppers in the kosher
As a Muslim, I know there is no God-given right not to be offended...
If, like me, you were watching BBC Question Time on Thursday evening then you will have undoubtedly noticed that the venerable Dimbers dropped something of a bombshell during the opening debate on the Charlie Hebdo murders by referring to BBC
editorial guidance which explicitly prohibited the use of images depicting Mohammed in very clear and unequivocal terms:
The Ministry of Truth seeks investigates the BBC's censorship rules about images of Mohammed
What if Charlie Hebdo had been published in Britain...
At least five people died when rioters burned churches and cars and attacked French-linked businesses across Niger on Saturday, in violent protests against the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine.
President Mahamadou Issoufou said all five of the dead were civilians, with four of them killed inside burned churches or bars.
Ten people have died in two days of violence across the west African nation. Five died and 45 were injured in clashes on Friday in Niger's second largest city, Zinder, where a French cultural centre and cafe were also hit.
Numerous French media websites have been momentarily taken down by hackers.
The sites of Le Parisien, Marianne and 20 Minutes were among those affected, although most were soon restored. The French government said some 20,000 sites had been targeted.
On Thursday, the head of cyber security for the French military, Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustilliere, said that structured groups and well known Islamist hackers were behind the attacks against the 20,000 sites, but did not elaborate.
Russian Muslims rally against depiction's of Mohammad. Authorities say some 15 to 20 thousand people gathered at the rally in the city of Mahgas in the North Caucasus. The rally concluded peacefully but nevertheless it was still an implcit show of
support for murderers.
About 800 muslims rallied in Sydney to protest against the justifiably negative media coverage of Islam and French satirical magazine Charlie
Hebdo's depictions of Mohammed.
Police said 14 people were told to move on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was calm with a huge group of demonstrators praying on the street.
Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Lakemba suburb -- which has a large population of Lebanese Australians -- held up placards with the slogan Je suis Muslim. Other protesters held up signs saying insult to one prophet is an
insult to all prophets.
Earlier Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, had told the protestors to lighten up . Abbott said on radio that he hoped there would be only a few protesters:
Frankly I don't think any of us really want to be in the business of insulting anyone, but on the other hand we all believe in free speech, and I have to say some people are a bit thin-skinned about free speech.
I just hope the organisers of this protest lighten up a bit, and accept that in our robust democracy, a lot of people say a lot of things, and sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong, and we just have to accept the rough and the smooth
Update: Palestine and Senegal
25th January 2015.
'Thousands' of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bankto protest against the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammad. Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron.
Around 1,500 people including the prime minister marchedin Senegal against caricatures of Mohammed. Premier Mohammed Dionne was joined at the demonstration in Dakar by cabinet colleagues, civil society activists, lawmakers, religious leaders and
hundreds of members of the public. I'm not Charlie -- I am a Muslim , Freedom of expression is not the freedom to insult , Do not touch my prophet read placards brandished by demonstrators.
Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Pakistan in anger at the Mohammed cartoons published by French satirical magazine Charlie
The largest rally was held in Karachi, where 25,000 people shouted slogans including death to France , death to the blasphemers and (We are) ready to sacrifice life for Prophet Mohammed .
Speaking at the Karachi protest, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's main Islamic Party, demanded Pakistan call a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of Muslim countries. He urged the United Nations to curb the
menace of blasphemy through changes to international law.
Iran has launched a cartoon competition centred on the theme of Holocaust denial in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed that were published in Charlie Hebdo.
The competition, organised by Iran's House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex, is offering a cash prize of $12,000 to the overall winner, $8,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place, according to the Tehran Times.
The winning artworks will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary art in the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as several other locations across the city.
About a thousand Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against free speech and the
depictions of the religious character Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.
The protestors, many of whom were segregated into groups of men and women, gathered near the Cenotaph.
The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped sow the seeds of hatred and had damaged community relations. Strangely not mentioning the fully grown hatred demonstrated by the muslim
murderers in Paris that has damaged community relations far more than a few cartoons.
A welcome new direction of the protest were the appearance of some witty placards. One young child stood next to a placard displaying the message: Charlie and the abuse factory . Another clever 'interfaith' message said: Insult my mum and I
will punch you (Pope Francis)
Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedom highlighting Je suis Charlie , prompts me to suggest a degree of caution
following my experience.
Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire.
To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it.
However, two days later a member of Her Majesty's police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.
Update: Police admit that they were monitoring people who bought Charlie Hebdo
A British police force has apologised after a policeman told a newsagent to hand over details of customers who purchased
copies of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Wiltshire police confirmed that a policeman visited a newsagent in Corsham, Wiltshire, to ask for the names of four customers who ordered the commemorative survivors' issue of the magazine.
In a statement, Wiltshire police apologised to the members of the public who may be affected by this and said they had deleted the details from their system. A spokeswoman said:
Following the terrorism incident in Paris, France on 7 January 2015, Wiltshire police undertook an assessment of community tensions across the county. As part of this work, local sector policing teams were asked to be mindful of business premises, in
particular newsagents who may be distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine and to consider that these shops may be vulnerable.
Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to snoop into sales of a special edition of
Charlie Hebdo magazine, the Guardian has learned.
Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine, it has emerged, as concerns grew about why police were attempting to trace UK-based readers of the French satirical magazine.
In at least two cases, in Wiltshire and in Presteigne, Wales, officers have requested that newsagents hand over the names of customers who bought the magazine.
Paul Merrett the owner of a newsagent in Presteigne, Wales, said a detective and a police community support officer from Dyfed-Powys police spent half an hour asking his wife about the magazine and who bought it. Merrett related:
My wife said, 'Am I in trouble?' because she thought she was in trouble for selling them. They said, 'No, you're not in trouble' but just continued with their questioning for half an hour.
It was all about Charlie Hebdo. I guess they wanted names and addresses of people we sold them to, which we didn't tell them anything like that. We sold 30 copies.
In Warrington, Cheshire, a police officer telephoned a newsagent seeking information about an issue of the magazine for a customer.
Update: Charlie Hebdo sellers should not be asked for readers' details, says top policeman
Police officers should not seek the names of law-abiding Charlie Hebdo readers following the Paris terror attacks, Britain's most senior counter-extremism officer has said.
Sir Peter Fahy, the national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was urgently clarifying guidance to all forces in the UK and acknowledged that it appeared over-zealous and unnecessary for officers to ask newsagents to hand over details
of the French satirical magazine's readers.
The French Catholic Church has declined to sign a declaration by the group Reporters without Borders (RSF) challenging faith groups to
pledge unreserved support for free speech or face public pressure to do so.
RSF president Christophe Deloire proposed the declaration after religious leaders, reacting to last month's terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, backed free speech ...BUT... said it had to be exercised responsibly.
Nobody can impose his concept of the sacred on others, says the declaration, which says some people might be offended by free speech ...BUT... this cannot justify limiting any opinion, even an irreverent one. church-state separation.
This declaration seems to suspect religions of being not very active in supporting free speech, if not actually opposed to it, said Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops' conference.
The Church, which reiterated its support for the principle of free speech after the attack, [...BUT...] does not sign declarations it has not helped draft, he said, adding it was regrettable the text was addressed only to religious leaders
and not other civil society personalities.
The heads of France's main Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist groups signed the declaration. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said he agreed in principle to it ...BUT... did not sign without all the other religious leaders.
The National Secular Society has awarded the staff of Charlie Hebdo the annual Secularist of the Year prize, for their courageous response to the terror attack on their Paris office.
Just one week after the attack on 7 January 2015, in which 12 people were killed, the remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo published an edition of the magazine featuring a depiction of Mohammed and an editorial making a passionate defence of secularism and
the right to free expression.
NSS president Terry Sanderson said:
Since the events of 7 January in Paris, Charlie Hebdo has become more than a magazine -- it has become an ideal, a symbol of democracy, a rallying cry to those who value freedom and openness in public debate.
The Charlie Hebdo horror has now joined the endless stream of other outrages committed in the name of Islam. The difference is that it prompted a commitment to free speech and secularism on the part of millions of people.
Looked at objectively, blasphemy is a ridiculous concept, transparently invented to protect eminently arguable ideas from challenge. Ridiculous it may be, but it is also lethal.
From the forty or so nominations that we received, there was one that could not be ignored, that was the obvious and only possible winner.
In addition to the main Secularist of the Year award, the NSS also acknowledged a number of others for their work in the past year.
Lord Avebury was recognised with a special award for his invaluable support of the NSS, and for being a tireless advocate for secularism. Lord Avebury recently tabled a Bill to abolish chancel repair liability and has spoken out in Parliament against
collective worship in schools and new legislation allowing prayers to be held as part of council meetings.
Maajid Nawaz, who couldn't attend the event, was recognised for his work at Quilliam, countering Islamic extremism and promoting secularism.
Helen Bailey and Elaine Hession were acknowledged for their efforts in helping the National Secular Society campaign to abolish chancel repair liability.
English PEN has announced the publication of Draw The Line Here , a collection of cartoons drawn in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015.
The book is a collaboration between the Professional Cartoonists' Organisation (PCO), Crowdshed, and English PEN. It features cartoons drawn by British artists in the days immediately after the attacks. The work of 66 cartoonists is featured,
including Steve Bell, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Peter Brookes and Ralph Steadman. The book features a Foreword by Libby Purves and an introduction by Robert Sharp of English PEN.
Two themes appear repeatedly in the cartoons. The first is the black balaclava of the terrorist - a menacing yet somehow compelling image. Whether it is Jihadi John in Syria or the Paris gunmen, the masked face of the assassin has already become
shorthand for murderous intolerance.
The second theme is that of a writing implement as a weapon. Pencils that counter the gun barrel, or pens held aloft like a crusader's sword. Such images are a form of wish fulfilment - if only a pen or a brush could really stop bullets.
The profits from Draw the Line Here will be shared between the Charlie Hebdo victims' fund and English PEN's free speech campaigns for embattled writers and artists around the world. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect to this book, therefore, is
that the contributors have used their own freedom of expression to defend the free speech rights of others. It is a positive and creative response to a moment of destruction, and should give us cause for hope.
Budget retailer TK Maxx has withdrawn a t-shirt from its stores after a customer was 'outraged' that it somehow made light of
the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
The black t-shirt emblazoned with the words Je Suis Over It was spotted by a shopper at the store's branch in Cribbs Causeway, Bristol.
Tom Young claimed the garment mocked the Je Suis Charlie slogan, which became a sign of unity and defiance in the aftermath of the murderous terror attack on the offices of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Young spouted:
It's appalling that a global brand has allowed a t-shirt like this to be produced and sold in store. Even if the message did not intend to cause upset in relation to the tragic event, I am adamant it should be taken down from stores immediately.
A spokesprat from T K Maxx responded:
We take product matters very seriously and appreciate that this t-shirt has been brought to our attention. As soon as we became aware of the offensive t-shirt message, we initiated the process to remove this item from our stores and are internally
reviewing how we inadvertently purchased the item. We would like to apologise to our customers for any concern this may have caused.
A man who threatened to blow-up a shop and stab its staff for selling French magazine Charlie Hebdo in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks
has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Shamim Ahmed sent an email to South Kensing ton's The French Bookshop on January 17 with the subject line: 'Protect your neck while you are still alive. Ahmed accused the bookshop of selling the satirical magazine against Muslims and
said they would face major retaliation if they continued to stock it. He then made two threatening phone calls to the Bute Street shop on January 22, telling the owner:
I'm going to come and stab you, I'm going to come right away and blow up the shop. I'm not afraid of the police, I'm a Muslim.
Ahmed was fined £1180, told to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and indefinitely placed under a restraining order which prevented him from contacting The French Bookshop or its staff, or encouraging others to do so. He was handed a 20-week
sentence suspended for two years.
A special edition of Charlie Hebdo will mark a year since brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi burst into Charlie Hebdo's offices in eastern Paris and killed 12 people, including eight of the magazine's staff. Included in the special edition will be a
collection of cartoons by the five Charlie Hebdo artists killed in the 2015 attack as well as several external contributors.
Cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau, who took over the management of the weekly after the attack, also wrote an angry editorial in defence of secularism. It denounces:
Fanatics brutalised by the Koran as well as those from other religions who hoped for the death of the magazine for daring to laugh at the religious.
7.5 million people bought the first post-attack issue and 200,000 people signed up for a subscription. However, the magazine's staff feel unsupported in their struggle, said financial director Eric Portheault, who escaped death by hiding behind his desk
when the gunmen stormed in, said:
We feel terribly alone. We hoped that others would do satire too. No one wants to join us in this fight because it's dangerous. You can die doing it.
Commemorative plaques will be unveiled at the sites of the January attacks, including at the weekly's former offices, in modest ceremonies attended by families and government officials, a City of Paris spokesman said.
On 10 January, a more public ceremony will take place on the Place de la Republique, the square in eastern Paris which became an informal memorial. President Francois Hollande will preside over the ceremony.
A Turkish state-run news agency said a court ordered the telecommunications authority to ban access to websites showing the cover. Anadolu Agency said the ban was ordered by a court in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir. A lawyer in Diyarbakir filed a
petition saying the websites were a danger to public order .
In the Philippines, police said about 1,500 people protested in the Muslim-majority city of Marawi, with local politicians and teenage students packing the main square and some raising their fists in the air as a Charlie Hebdo poster was burned. T
he organisers said in a statement:
What happened in France, the Charlie Hebdo killing, is a moral lesson for the world to respect any kind of religion, especially the religion of Islam. Freedom of expression does not extend to insulting the noble and the greatest prophet of Allah.
The Muslim Council of Great Britain advised Muslims to react with dignified nobility . Its advice sheet says:
Our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the prophet (peace be upon him). Enduring patience, tolerance, gentleness and mercy as was the character of our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)
is the best and immediate way to respond.
The Vatican's newspaper has criticised French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo for a front cover portraying God as a gun-wielding terrorist. In a commentary, the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said treatment of this kind towards religion is not
new -- and stressed that religious figures have repeatedly condemned violence in the name of God. The newspaper said:
Behind the deceptive flag of uncompromising secularism, the weekly is forgetting once more what religious leaders of every faith unceasingly repeat to reject violence in the name of religion -- using God to justify hatred is a genuine blasphemy, as pope
Francis has said several times
In Charlie Hebdo's choice, there is the sad paradox of a world which is more and more sensitive about being politically correct, almost to the point of ridicule, yet does not wish to acknowledge or to respect believers' faith in God, regardless of the
Commentators have taken offence at an editorial in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The leader suggests that ordinary Muslims contribute to putting islam beyond criticism and hence contributing to a climate in which the Brussels bombings took
The magazine published the editorial, How Did We End Up Here? , eight days after bombs at Brussels' airport and metro. It said a fear of being seen as Islamophobic had inhibited the public from questioning or objecting to facets of Islam. The
editorial began by listing several mooted explanations for the Brussels attacks , including police incompetence, youth unemployment, immigration and growing Islamism. But, it went on:
In reality, the attacks ... are the last phase of a process of cowing and silencing long in motion and on the widest possible scale.
Charlie Hebdo concluded:
From the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping,
undermining work. And the way is marked for all that will follow.
Several commentators took offence at the article. Shadi Hamid, writer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, tweeted:
Never thought I'd see the day when a magazine ppl I know respect would argue that basically all conservative Muslims are complicit in terror
Teju Cole, a Nigerian-American writer and photographer, wrote:
Reading this extraordinary editorial by Charlie, it's hard not to recall the vicious development of 'the Jewish question' in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in. Charlie's logic is frighteningly similar: that there are no innocent
Muslims, that 'something must be done' about these people, regardless of their likability, their peacefulness, or their personal repudiation of violence. Such categorisation of an entire community as an insidious poison is a move we have seen before.
But some on Twitter said the editorial was thoughtful and even brilliant. Toby Young, the journalist and writer, described it as powerful .
Julia Ebner responded in the Independent:
Whether one agrees with the latest editorial or not, drawing this historical parallel is far-fetched. The difference is threefold: first, Charlie Hebdo's mockery is targeting abstract concepts, ideologies and powerful elites rather than vulnerable
individuals. Second, the goal of the journalists is to incite laughter, not hatred or fear. Third -- and most importantly -- the satirists are not abusing freedom of expression for the sake of politics; they are abusing politics for the sake of free
Offsite Comment: No, Charlie Hebdo' s editorial is not racist
Members and supporters of the National Secular Society gathered in Portcullis House this week to discuss the future of free speech, two years after the attack on Charlie Hebdo .
The Society was honoured to be joined by Caroline Fourest, who helped edit the Survivor's Edition of Charlie Hebdo published shortly after the massacre.
She discussed the shameful treatment of Charlie Hebdo following the massacre by some UK media outlets: after the attack, Sky News cut her off in the middle of an interview when she tried to show a cartoon of Mohammed. Those who defy Islamic blasphemy
laws don't just face violence and threats, she said, but demonisation from the regressive left.
She stressed the need for secularists to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry but criticised the term Islamophobia , arguing that it conflated Muslims with Islam, and stifled discussion about the religion.
Introducing the event, Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the National Secular Society, said:
The heartening outpouring of solidarity, the sense of indignation and outrage, the crowds shouting 'Je Suis Charlie' had offered a brief glimmer of hope.
But the solidarity didn't last, our collective outrage quickly gave way to bitter disputes, and bile against Charlie from those who blamed the victims for their own murder. The crowds went home.
The panel also featured writer and journalist Nick Cohen, Jodie Ginsberg of Index on Censorship and Martin Rowson. Nick Cohen urged those present to buy Caroline Fourest's book, In Praise of Blasphemy , after she said that, despite it being a
bestseller in France, no UK publisher would touch it. He accused people of making feeble excuses for not showing genuine solidarity with Charlie Hebdo , arguing that there were very good reasons to be frightened of publishing a Mohammed cartoon, but that
few would admit that was the true reason.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said that a pincer movement was attacking free speech. She pointed to Government proposals for extremism disruption orders as one example, and criticised Tony Blair and other politicians for
calling for laws against offending religious feelings. She said that society lacked the ability to debate productively and that whatever you did, however innocuous you think it is, somebody will claim to be offended . People went very
quickly after the attack from saying Je Suis Charlie to, Je Suis Charlie, but... and too many claim to defend free speech but in practice out only the kind I like.
Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson spoke about the resistance of the paper to publishing a cartoon of Mohammed, and said that any organisation that did so would face tremendous threats, without the safety in numbers that might have been hoped for in the
aftermath of the attack two years ago. Rowson added that one of the great threats to freedom of speech was the belief that the greatest human right of all was a right to not be upset.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who sponsored the room for the NSS, congratulated the Society on hosting the event and said that it was inspiring to hear such a strong defence of free expression.