Det franske satiremagasinet Charlie Hebdo har utgitt en tegneserie om profetens liv som følger den offisielle islamske fortellingen. Men i tegneserieform. Charlie Hebdo mener det er viktig å avmystifisere relgionsstifteren av verdens nest største religion og ikke bøye nakken for voldsmenn.

Andre medier er ikke like modige. Aviser som skriver om utgivelsen enten kritiserer Charlie Hebdo eller retusjerer omslaget for ikke på utløse islamistenes vrede. Denne preemptive underkastelse hvor man bøyer seg for trusler før de er fremsatt, gjør at ytringsfrihetens rammer krymper. Man innskrenker ytringsfriheten selvpålagt.

Charlie Hebdo’s publisher said it would be educational and was an attempt to defend free speech. «It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims,» said the publisher, Stephane Charbonnier, who is known as Charb. «I don’t think higher Muslims could find anything inappropriate.»

The biography was put together by a Franco-Tunisian researcher known only as Zineb, he said. Charb said the idea came to him in 2006 when a Danish paper printed cartoons of Mohammed, which Charlie Hebdo later reprinted, angering Muslims. «Before having a laugh about a character, it is better to know him,» he told AFP.

Da Charlie Hebdo publiserte en karikatur av Muhammed i 2011, ble redaksjonslokalene brannbombet kort tid etter.

Ifjor, like etter stormingen av det amerikanske konsulatet i Benghazi, publiserte Charlie Hebdo en utgave med karikaturer som fikk franske myndigheter til å gå i spinn. Utgivelsen var selvsagt planlagt lenge før 9/11, men den rådende oppfatning på ansvarlig hold fra Det hvite hus til Paris var at et satireblad må ta hensyn til «verdenssituasjonen». Ambassader og franske skoler ble stengt i 20 land. Politiet var i alarmberedskap. For de som tror at muslimer venner seg til krenkelser – så er det nok langt frem. Utgivelsen ble kommentert av al-Azhar-universitetet og imamer i Libanon, og selvfølgelig muslimske talsmenn i Frankrike. Det politiske Frankrike er delt.


The front cover of the magazine shows an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned Muslim in a wheelchair with the caption: «Don’t poke fun.» The inside pages carry numerous cartoons mocking salafists and the film «Innocence of Muslims», which triggered worldwide protests since its online release. But Muslim anger was directed against four cartoons clearly depicting Mohammed. One, inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, features a naked prophet asking the director «Do you like my bottom?» – a line delivered by Brigitte Bardot in the film. Another shows the founder of Islam crouched on all fours with a star covering his behind and the inscription «A Star Is Born.» A third depicts a cover of Closer, the magazine that released topless photographs of the Duchess of Cambridge. In this case it promises exclusive snaps of a bare-breasted, bearded «Mrs Mohammed». The magazine’s print run of 75,000 had sold out by midafternoon amid reports of people ripping up numerous copies in the street. More will be on sale tomorrow. Religious leaders in France and abroad warned the cartoons stood to inflame tensions. The Vatican’s official daily Osservatore Romano said the cartoons risk adding «more fuel to the fire after the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.» «There is a risk of a new front in the protests,» the daily said. Sunni Islam’s highest authority, the Al-Azhar mosque, said the caricatures were «offensive to Islam and its Prophet, the prophet of humanity.» «Freedom should stop (where it affects) other people’s freedoms,» it said. In Lebanon, leading Salafist cleric Sheikh Nabil Rahim warned the cartoons could lead to more violence and «targeting of foreigners». In France, Dalil Boubakeur, the senior cleric at Paris’s biggest mosque, appealed for the country’s four million Muslims to remain calm. «It is with astonishment, sadness and concern that I have learned that this publication is risking increasing the current outrage across the Muslim world,» he said. The French Muslim Council, the main body representing Muslims, said it was «profoundly worried by this irresponsible act». Richard Prasquier, head of the body representing France’s Jewish community, said religious censorship was wrong but added: «Publishing Mohammad cartoons at this time, in the name of freedom, is irresponsible». The magazine’s editor, also a cartoonist who uses the name Charb, said it mocked all religions and extremists with equal zeal and denied the timing was particularly provocative. «The world context will never be favourable to having a laugh at the expense of radical Islam or religion in general,» he said. He rejected as irrelevant charges of «throwing oil on the fire». «It is like saying a woman who has been raped is to blame because she wore a miniskirt. «We are provocateurs, we are wearing a miniskirt but who is guilty: the person in the miniskirt or the rapist.» An organisation calling itself the Syrian Association for Freedom yesterday filed a legal complaint against Charlie Hebdo for «public provocation to discrimination, hatred and national, racial or religious violence» and «public racial or religious defamation». Anti-racism group Licra defended the magazine saying that the «crime of blasphemy» does not exist in France. «Can one still criticise religion?,» it asked. «Given the hesitations of our political leaders, the answer does not go without saying.» French politicians wavered between a robust defence of free speech and the need for tact. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the prime minister, said anyone offended by the cartoons could sue the magazine after expressing his «disapproval of all excesses». Right-wing former Prime Minister François Fillon said: «I defend Charlie Hebdo, I defend the freedom of expression and I think we mustn’t give an inch of ground on this front». But Jean-François Copé, his rival to lead the French Right, warned the cartoons were a «provocation that could lead to unforgivable violence». The White House questioned the judgment of the French weekly but said the decision was no justification for violence. “We have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while adding “it is not in any way justification for violence.”

France to close schools and embassies fearing Mohammed cartoon reaction

France is to close embassies and schools in around 20 countries on Friday due to fears of violence after a weekly satirical magazine published cartoons of a naked Prophet Mohammed.