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Attack on French Magazine which featured Muhammad cartoon

Last night satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was petrol bombed the day before they were due to have a ‘sharia’ edition. The magazine was running the Arab Spring special addition which was called “Sharia Hebdo” on the cover it featured a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad as “guest editor”.

The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked around 1am with a petrol bomb which was thrown through a window, gutting the offices. The bomb set alight to the computer system as well as burning most of the contents in the office and blowing out windows.

The “sharia” edition was to hit newsstands this morning however it was described rather mockingly as a “celebration” of the victory of the moderate Islamist party An-Nahda in the Tunisian elections and the Libyan transitional executive’s statement that Islamic sharia law would be the country’s main source of law. The magazine chose to feature on the front cover a cartoon prophet Muhammad stating: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

Ever one to court controversy the magazine has faced problems in the past when they have previously published cartoons of Muhammad, which in Islam is forbidden. But in 2007 a case brought by two Muslim organisations against the magazine when it reprinted the prophet Muhammad cartoons that had been published by a Danish newspaper and caused controversy around the world was thrown out of a Paris court.

On France Inter radio the magazine’s editor, known only as Charb said that for the past few days the paper had received threats on Twitter and Facebook and by post, which had been passed on to police. He said he was sickened and angry that “violence could be used to counter drawings”.

Charb also told Agence France Presse he rejected accusations that he was trying to provoke, saying the magazine was “just doing our job as usual”.

New offices for Charlie Hebdo are being sort with the help of the Socialist-run Paris City Hall. Christophe Girard, a deputy mayor of Paris tweeted: “We’d never leave an organ of the free press without offices. It’s the duty of the republic. Charlie Hebdo should be able to continue to work.”

The head of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM) Mohammed Moussaoui stated that he “strongly condemned” the fire if police did confirm it was a criminal attack.

Picture courtesy of paulbaker

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