French Weekly Publishes Cartoon of Mohammed, Gets Firebombed

Agence France Press reported:

The offices of a French satirical newspaper that published a special Arab Spring edition with the Prophet Mohammed on the cover as “guest editor” were destroyed in a suspected firebomb attack Wednesday.

The attack came after Charlie Hebdo renamed the weekly newspaper Charia (Sharia) Hebdo for the occasion and featured a front-page cartoon of the prophet saying: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

The newspaper’s website also appeared to have been hacked, with its regular home page replaced with a photo of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and a message reading: “No god but Allah”. The web site was later unavailable.

From The Guardian (UK):

French politicians defended the magazine. The prime minister, François Fillon, said: “Freedom of expression is an inalienable value of democracy and any incursion against press freedom must be condemned with the utmost force. No cause justified violent action.”

The interior minister, Claude Guéant, said: “You like or you don’t like Charlie Hebdo, but it’s a newspaper. Press freedom is sacrosanct for the French.” He added that all French people should feel solidarity towards the magazine.

François Hollande, the Socialist presidential candidate, told Le Monde newspaper the incident demonstrated that the struggle for press freedom and “respect of opinions” was a permanent battle, adding that “fundamentalism must be eradicated in all its forms”.

Here’s the cover, so you can see it for yourself: