The French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo announced a few days ago that this week’s edition would be renamed Charia Hebdo (“Sharia Hebdo”) in honor of the “Arab Spring”. The prophet Mohammed was to be the guest editor for the week, and a cartoon of him was featured on the cover. Mohammed’s speech balloon says: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
Early this morning, before the newspaper hit the stands, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed and gutted by persons unknown. Here’s the report from France24:
France: Satirical Weekly Hit by Petrol Bomb Over ‘Sharia’ Issue
The offices of French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo, which published a special Arab Spring issue Wednesday with the prophet Mohammed as guest “editor”, were destroyed by a petrol bomb attack overnight, police said.
AFP — The offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published a special Arab Spring edition Wednesday with the prophet Mohammed as guest “editor”, were gutted in a petrol bomb attack overnight, police said.
The fire at the magazine started around 01.00 am (0200 GMT) and caused no injuries, a police source said.
Charlie Hebdo published a special edition Wednesday to mark the Arab Spring, renaming the magazine Charia (Sharia) Hebdo for the occasion.
The cover showed a cartoon of the prophet stating: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”
The depiction of the prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam.
A witness at the scene, Patrick Pelloux, told AFP a molotov cocktail was hurled through the window and set fire to the computer system.
“Everything was destroyed,” he said.
The magazine’s publisher, known only as Charb, said he was convinced the fire was linked to the special edition.
“On Twitter, on Facebook, we received several letters of protest, threats, insults,” which had been forwarded to the police, he said.
On Wednesday, the weekly said it would publish a special edition to “celebrate” the Ennahda Islamist party’s election victory in Tunisia and the transitional Libyan executive’s statement that Islamic Sharia law would be the country’s main source of law.
It would feature the prophet Mohammed as guest “editor”, the magazine said.
Charb on Tuesday rejected accusations that he was trying to provoke.
“We feel we’re just doing our job as usual. The only difference is that this week, Mohammed is on the cover and that’s quite rare,” he told AFP.
Below is a French TV news report with voiceover English translation:
And a French-language report with English subtitles:
A transcript of the second video is below:
|0:00||2/3rds of the rooms of Charlie Hebdo went up in smoke|
|0:04||tonight images by one viewer …|
|0:08||of BFM-TV image sent tonight…|
|0:12||Molotov Cocktails would have been thrown approximately …|
|0:16||2:00 AM at the paper and their internet area|
|0:20||…of the satirical magazine…|
|0:24||this morning, Patrick is a writer at Charlie Hebdo|
|0:28||was telling us the magazine was victim of threats…|
|0:32||in the last few days after the front page. this front page that comes out today..|
|0:36||there was pressures of all sorts but pressures we..|
|0:40||are used to. because all backgrounds integrationist and fundamentalist of religions..|
|0:44||write to us and insult us regularly so its…|
|0:48||hard to point finger at a particular group.|
|0:52||in the last few days because of the journal that is coming out today..|
|0:56||there were a lot of threats even at the international level because..|
|1:00||because of the social networks it comes from anywhere.|
Hat tips: For the image, J-PD; for the France24 story, C. Cantoni.
Many thanks to Bear for the video translation, and to Vlad Tepes for subtitling and uploading the videos.