Je suis Charlie

This came out today and the mag to come out on Wednesday.


The latest issue of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, published by survivors of last week’s deadly terror attack, features a cover cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie,” [“I am Charlie.”] an echo of the slogan of support for freedom of speech that spread across the globe after the tragedy.

The news agency Agence France-Presse on Monday distributed a copy of the new cover, which carries a caption that reads “Tout est pardonne,” which translates into English as “All is forgiven.”

USA TODAY traditionally does not show images of Mohammed to avoid offending Muslim readers. But the magazine cover has enough news value to warrant its publication in this case.

Remaining Charlie Hebdo staff on Tuesday said an unprecedented run of 3 million copies of the next issue Wednesday were planned. “Three million people will have Mohammed’s, the prophet’s drawing, at home,” Zineb El Rhazoui, a columnist for the newspaper, told the BBC. The remaining staff previously said that a million copied would be published.

“We will not give in. The spirit of ‘I am Charlie’ means the right to blaspheme,” lawyer Richard Malka told France Info radio.


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11 thoughts on “Je suis Charlie”

  1. Je comprends que les événements récents de France (attentats, manifestations exceptionnelles, nouvelle publication des caricatures de Mahomet) te posent problème; A moi aussi !

    Nous avons participé, Josiane et moi, à l’immense manifestation parisienne. Pour ce qui nous concerne, c’était pour dire NON au fanatisme, pas pour soutenir Charlie-hebdo et son idéologie libertaire irresponsable. Nous nous sommes solidarisés avec les victimes de l’extrémisme islamiste (en ce sens “nous étions Charlie” Cf. Kennedy :”Ich bin ein Berliner !”), mais nous n’aimons pas cet hebdomadaire que nous n’achetons jamais.

    En France la liberté d’expression est sans limites, dès lors qu’on s’interdit 1/ l’apologie du terrorisme (c’est la moindre des choses !) 2/ l’incitation à la haine et 3/ l’injure et la diffamation contre des personnes ou groupes de personnes en raison de leur appartenance à une religion. La dérision vis-à-vis des rites et des croyances, la désacralisation des symboles religieux alimentent par conséquent les pages de Charlie-Hebdo ! Même si cela provoque la colère des communautés de croyants.

    L’esprit de responsabilité consisterait pourtant à s’abstenir de toute publication “qui serait ostensiblement, délibérément ou inutilement offensante pour les groupes religieux” (Washington Post, cité par La Croix du 14:01:2015) Cette philosophie n’est évidemment pas celle des dessinateurs de Charlie-Hebdo, mais elle n’est non plus celle du New-York Magazine “pour qui le blasphème est un des exercices élémentaires des libertés individuelles” (Même référence)

    Jean [retired philosopher, resident of Paris]

  2. While we all should support freedom of speech, journalists even irresponsible cartoonists should self sensor religiously offensive drawings where non offensive characters could be drawn that convey the same message. Muslims are offended because this is a deliberate affront (the depiction of Mohammad which they clearly do not accept in their beliefs) and we should respect that.

    Needless to say such acts do not justify killing the artists or their fellow journalists, publishers, etc. Certainly some other reactions could have been taken. First by the country in which the work was prepared by an immediate press release apologizing for the publication of the art work. The application of a restraining order and fine, the request for a recall of the publication. This would stem the immediate insult by showing a respect for their religious beliefs. It should be matched by intellectual rebuttal from Islamic leaders setting forth their appreciation for the state actions and providing clarification on why the Muslim people are offended and what is the source of their religious concern and belief. Such actions, similar to the reaction when Jewish sites are desecrated, would go a long way to bridging these potential problems that come from basic disrespect of a person’s religious beliefs.

    We must find ways to live in a multi cultural world. Clearly prejudice exists for a variety of reasons; economic, dress, family beliefs and customs, etc. But governments and religious leaders must be working for tolerance and human rights not laughing at insult and violence.

    Roger USA

  3. Our first response to the horrible and frightening violence of Paris should be grief. False religion always makes the religious grieve, but when it engages in ghastly violence against other human beings who are made in God’s image, it should break our hearts as it breaks God’s.

    These hateful terrorists, masquerading as religious believers, said on video they were the “avengers” of the prophet Mohamed. As such, they murdered cartoonists in the office of a magazine they identified with blasphemy. What these killers, and those like them, don’t understand is that they are the real blasphemers now by forcing their false and murderous distortions of Islam on the world and on other children of God. Their religion is now violence itself, a blasphemous interpretation of Islam, which in its truest expression is a religion of peace. Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, from the Reformed Church in America, has called Paris an “identity theft” of the Muslim faith. Several Muslim leaders have said that the damage terrorists like these do to the image of the Prophet Mohammed is much greater than any cartoonist could ever do.

    Jim Wallis, Sojourners


  4. This attack on a weekly news sheet, whose main currency is the cartoon, often personal, offensive and anti-religious, has raised yet again the whole question of the nature of the freedom of the press. In a democracy we have to tolerate the views of those with whom we disagree, arguing our position but doing so within the legal framework of the state.

    The history of satire is reflective of the European political scene for the last three hundred years. It is healthy, and at times necessary, that humour through word or image is used to question a particular position, belief or social circumstance.

    The argument for preservation of press freedom must continue even though the cost may be high. That freedom extends beyond print journalism into the world of broadcasting and the internet. But freedom carries with it responsibility, and a charge that everyone who puts pen to paper to express an opinion must exercise care and sensitivity in what results from their labours.

    Chris (UK)

  5. As a young Muslim living through a time in which continuous terror attacks are carried out in the name of my faith, I feel helpless. Tired and lost, at times I want to pack my faith and take it far, far away; take it away from the questioning of those who believe Islam advocates violence and from the misuse of those who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam. How naive of me to think that a religion with 1.6 billion believers which has existed for centuries needs me to protect it from denigrating satire.

    It is not the intentionally offensive cartoons that bother me as much; a mere piece of a cartoonist’s imagination will not shake my inner peace. Rather, It’s the reaction of those who, in their attempts to protect their religious beliefs, think they have the right to take someone’s life. Simple math: fighting wrong with a greater wrong, will only end up in an even greater wrong. In the aftermath of the shootings, social media channels were flooded with offensive cartoons posted to defend the right to free speech. Will this cycle ever end? Have we become hungry wolves just waiting for a chance to pounce on each other?

    Social media identities like #iamcharlie and #iamnotcharlie, I believe, are creating a deeper divide amongst us. This unfortunate incident needs to be condemned in its entirety, not just certain aspects of it. I don’t condemn this incident because I am a Muslim or because I advocate free speech. I condemn it because I am a human. (full text)

    Adah Shair, a Muslim student at University of North Florida

  6. My comment on Charlie Hebdo concluded with this short poem, written 24 hours after the journalists and two policemen were murdered.

    Charlie Hebdo

    I am who Am
    uttered the God
    of the Hebrew people
    the One we have taken,
    torn apart, and made
    our small, sectarian own.

    Identify this Thursday morning,
    as sombre bells ring
    out across a chastened city
    with those whose lives were lost
    in a narrow Paris office,
    whose voice and vision
    was spread wide
    on the chill Winter wind.

    Later, amid candles and flowers,
    crowds gathered in solidarity.
    World-wide, #jesuischarlie
    became their mournful
    silent song across the night.

    By the loss of a single letter
    their personal plea is changed
    and a statement
    becomes a prayer


  7. A cartoon currently circulating on Facebook shows hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan alongside flag-waving members of Islamic State (ISIS), with the caption, ‘Nobody thinks these people are representative of Christians, so why do so many people think that these people are representative of Muslims?’

    KKK and ISIS

    To expect any peaceful majority to gain ‘universal recognition’ is to fail to appreciate the pervasive power of violence to silence voices of moderation. Millions of us took to the streets in February 2003 to protest the war in Iraq, yet go to war we did, and the rest is not yet history. If our democratically elected leaders can unleash such slaughter in our name, how can we ask ordinary Muslims to take responsibility for the actions of those they never voted for or supported, simply because they appropriate the name of Islam for their cause?

    That is the context in which we must speak of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, even as we unequivocally condemn the murders of the cartoonists. If those cartoonists had been satirising ISIS, the Taliban or Al Qaeda, they might have found widespread support among Muslims who shared their revulsion. But the Muhammad cartoons violated Islam’s most revered and beloved figure, more authentically revered by those law-abiding Muslims who devoutly practise their faith than by those who use Islam as a front for murder. Charlie Hebdo’s crude images lack the slightest subtlety that would make them worthy of the name ‘satire’. They were acts of crass and shameless provocation which demanded of every French Muslim citizen more tolerance than any civilized society should ask in the name of freedom of speech. As Pope Francis has reminded us, ‘every religion has its dignity’ and there are limits to freedom of expression. The cartoons are an assault on the dignity of Islam and its followers, and there is never any justification for attacking human dignity.

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  9. Dr. Tina, you make an excellent point.

    The Muslim terrorists distorted the dignity of their Prophet by their acts of violence. If the cartoons had been presented as “the distorted view of the Prophet as seen by the terrorists,” then the editors of Charlie Hebdo would have been on solid ground. But this was not the case.

    The parallel here might be the case of an artist who took a photograph of Jesus on the cross suspended in urine. The artist, Andres Serrano, said in response to the hate letters and death threats, “I had no idea Piss Christ would get the attention it did, since I meant neither blasphemy nor offense by it. I’ve been a Catholic all my life, so I am a follower of Christ” ( ). Yet, for the general public, it appeared that Serrano was attacking Jesus in the same way that the cartoonists appeared to be attacking the Prophet.

    In the end, Dr. Tina joins forces with Adah Shair (as shown above): “I don’t condemn this incident because I am a Muslim or because I advocate free speech. I condemn it because I am a human.”


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