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Charlie Hebdo's history of lampooning Islamic extremism (and religion as a whole)

The magazine has been attacked before.

Image: Twitter/Charlie Hebdo

THIS MORNING’S FATAL gun attack on Charlie Hebdo is not the first time the satirical French magazine has been violently targeted.

In November 2011 the magazine was petrol bombed after it published a special issue temporarily renamed ‘Charia Hebdo’ featuring a guest editor listed as “the Prophet Mohammad”.

The magazine’s offices were completely gutted but their response was embattled. The next week they published a front page cover with a picture of a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist kissing a bearded Muslim man.

The caption read, ”L’Amour plus fort que la haine” meaning “Love is stronger than hate.”

That example is part of a sustained history the magazine has displayed in asserting its right to lampoon people and issues in the news, often Islamic extremism.

A year later, as worldwide violent protests followed the US release of the low-budget Innocence of Muslims film, Charlie Hebdo took the opportunity to publish obscene images Mohammad.

One of the images showed a naked turbaned Mohammad exposing his backside. French ministers questioned the timing of the publication of the images but supported the magazine’s right to express its opinions.

Visual depiction of the Prophet are not allowed under many interpretations of Islam. The reason for this is a concern that such depictions would lead to the worship of the founder of Islam.

The magazine’s consistency in its caricaturing Islamic issues was in evidence as early as this morning when they tweeted a cartoon of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed emir of the so-called Islamic State.

But the magazine is far from focused on Islam as its target, with organised religion more widely often bearing the brunt of its satire.

A special issue published this month for example featured an image of the Virgin Mary with her legs spread giving birth to Jesus underneath the title, ‘The True Story of Little Jesus’.

Read: Fears of protest grows after Mohammed cartoons published in France >

Read: French satirical mag publishes naked Muhammed cartoons >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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