France's Charlie Hebdo publishes provocative Islam cartoon

Charlie Hebdo's Barcelona attack cover 'incites anti-Muslim hatred'
2 min read
23 Aug, 2017
The latest cover from French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has caused a social media storm and fears it could fuel Islamophobia over its depiction of the Spain attacks.
Critics of Charlie Hebdo say its cover implies Islam was inherently violent [Twitter]
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which became an internationally known name following a deadly attack on its Paris office, has come under severe criticism yet again for its latest front page, sparking fears that it could encourage Islamophobia.

Following the twin Spain attacks last week, the front page cartoon links the incident to Islam, showing two people lying in a pool of blood having been run over by a van next to the words: "Islam, eternal religion of peace".

A dozen fighters of Moroccan origin are believed to have plotted last week's attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

At least 14 people were killed and more than 100 injured after a van drove into crowds in Las Ramblas.

Critics of Charlie Hebdo saw its cover as attacking an entire religion by implying it was inherently violent, and potentially fuelling Islamophobia.

Translation: I have defended Charlie Hebdo even following the cartoons
but to say that Muslims are terrorists is unforgivable! #islamophobic

As the cartoon became one of the top trending topics on Twitter in France, prominent Socialist MP and former minister Stephane Le Foll called it "extremely dangerous".

"When you're a journalist you need to exercise restraint because making these associations can be used by other people," he said.

Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau explained the choice in an editorial, saying that experts and policy-makers were avoiding hard questions out of concern for moderate law-abiding Muslims.

"The debates and questions about the role of religion, and in particular the role of Islam, in these attacks have completely disappeared," he wrote.

Charlie Hebdo lampoons all religions and religious figures, but its depictions of the Prophet Mohammed – an act considered sinful under Islam – led to outrage, death threats and ultimately violence.

Two gunmen who claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda killed 12 people in an attack on its offices in January 2015 which left many of its star cartoonists dead.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of France afterwards, rallying behind the slogan "Je Suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") in defence of the right to free speech.

Riss said in the wake of the violence that the magazine would stop depicting the prophet, leading one top journalist to quit and accuse its new management of going soft on Islamist extremism.

Translation: We were expecting it. Another Charlie Hebdo cover to incite anti-Muslim
hatred #nausea