Muhammad Depictions French Satirical Paper Reportedly Attacked

Fire was set to the Paris office of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo early in the morning of Nov. 2. The attack came hours before a new issue featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad hit newsstands. Damages were extensive, but no arrests have been made in what appears to have been an arson attack.

Police stand outside the damaged Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo Nov. 2.
AFP

Police stand outside the damaged Paris office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo Nov. 2.


Fire was set to the Paris offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the early morning on Wednesday, hours before an issue hit newsstands featuring a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.

The issue was renamed "Charia Hebdo," in reference to Sharia law, and was "guest edited" by the Prophet Muhammad. The special issue was produced following the electoral success of the Islamist Ennahda party in the Tunisia. A cartoon image of Muhammad shows a bubble quote of him saying: "100 lashes if you don't die laughing."

The paper's publisher, who goes simply by the name Charb, said, according to media reports, that a Molotov cocktail was thrown through a window of the Paris office, setting the newsroom ablaze. The damage done by the fire and the water used to extinguish it left the paper paralyzed. Charb told France-Info radio: "We don't have a paper."

No one was injured in the apparent attack, which happened at approximately 1 a.m., and no arrests have been made, according to local police.

Charb said on the French station BFM-TV, that the newspaper had recently received threatening e-mails. Charlie Hebdo became the subject of threats related to depictions of Muhammad starting in 2006, when it republished a caricature of the Muslim Prophet that first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Charlie Hebdo added its own cartoon on the cover, showing Muhammad in a state of exasperation. "It's tough being loved by idiots," he complains, face buried in his hands -- hinting at suicide bombers who blow themselves up in the name of Allah and his prophet.

The current issue with the illustration of the Prophet Muhammad was not available on the newsstands until later Wednesday morning, and only the Muhammad image on the title page was viewable on the Charlie Hebdo website in advance.

That website could not be pulled up Wednesday, and appeared to have been hacked. Some reports said that earlier in the morning it showed images of mosques, with the words: "There is no God but Allah."

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