France: Islam, the cartoons that are sparking outrage

19 September, 16:19

(By Tullio Giannotti) (ANSAmed) - PARIS, SEPTEMBER 19 - French weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose satire is a symbol of political incorrectness in the country, published today cartoons mocking Prophet Mohammed.

In one cartoon, the prophet only wearing a turban is lying in bed as he pronounces a line recited in a cult scene by Brigitte Bardot in the Jean-Luc Godard movie 'Le mepris': 'et mes fesses? Tu les aimes, mes fesses? (and my bum? Do you like my bum?).

Some of the most shocking cartoons are inspired by the controversy sparked by a US-produced movie mocking the prophet.

One of the cartoons portrays the naked prophet on all four legs with a yellow star on his bottom: 'Mohamed, a star is born', reads the cartoon.

Another cartoon portrays the front page of Closer, the gossip magazine which published pictures of a topless Duchess of Cambridge, but instead of depicting Kate Middleton the cartoon shows 'Madame Mahomet' with a beard and the line 'revolts in Arab countries'.

Another shows a 'problematic teenager' who 'doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs and doesn't have sex' and causes his mother's despair: 'Help, my son is a salafite!'.

Finally, a cartoon shows Pope Benedict taking off a fake beard with a headline reading: 'Scandal movie, the actor interpreting Mohamed finally unmasked'.

Charlie Hebdo, which critics accuse of being racist and publishing trash, has always inspired strong reactions with its provocations and 'politically incorrect' cartoons and reports.

In July the magazine celebrated its 20th anniversary with a special number.

First created in 1970, inspired by Charlie Brown and 'Hara Kiri Hebdo', it was censored for the front page published on the day following General Charles De Gaulle's death: 'Tragic ball at Colombey, one dead', read the headline. The paper had great success but the many lawsuits forced it to fold in 1981 after publishing 580 numbers. It was re-issued 11 years later and has often clashed with leaders of all religions due to its liberal inspiration.

The first caricatures of Mohamed date back to February 2006; they sold 400.000 copies and led to an attack by Islamists. At the end of 2011 the newsroom was completely destroyed by an arson attack and a special online number called 'Sharia Hebdo' was hacked.

Meanwhile, Charlie journalists moved to the newsroom of Liberation and then to a new office where journalists are preparing a special issue for the publication's 20th birthday which should is expected in October.

Charlie Hebdo has a weekly circulation of 100.000 copies and 15.000 subscribers. (ANSAmed)
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