Revenge attack. Twelve people, including two policemen were killed on Wednesday after gunmen attacked a French satirical newspaper in suspected revenge for disparaging cartoons against Islam and Prophet Muhammad
In the aftermath of the deadly assault on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, much of the world has rallied in solidarity with the publication, its irreverent cartoonists and their right to free speech.
But not everyone is so supportive. Mr Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a US organisation that “defends the rights of Catholics,” issued a statement titled “Muslims are right to be angry.”
In it, Mr Donohue criticised the publication’s history of offending the world’s religiously devout, including non-Muslims.
“The murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier “didn’t understand the role he played in his [own] tragic death,” the statement reads in part.
“Had [Charbonnier] not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive,” Mr Donohue said, in what must be one of the more offensive and insensitive comments made on this tragic day.
“Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction,” he added.
The statement sad Charlie Hebdo has “a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning” of religious figures. “They have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms,” Mr Donohue said. “They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses,” the statement further quotes Mr Donohue.
The publication has had numerous covers including a too-racy-for-WorldViews depicting of the Christian Holy Trinity locked in a three-way homosexual orgy (as part of a critique of French religious leaders’ opposition to gay marriage) and a whole array of images mocking pedophilia by priests.
Charlie Hebdo doesn’t pull its punches. But some critics say it goes too far, specifically with Muslims. The newspaper recently fired a cartoonist who published an article deemed anti-Semitic in 2008. But when it comes to depicting Islam, writes the Financial Times’ Tony Barber, the publication has no qualms specifically “mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims.”
However, others will argue that Mr Donohue, who in his statement presumes to speak for all Muslims, should not cling to a defense of religious sensitivities and promote the fault of a terror attack on its victims.
Police on hunt. Reports indicate that by yesterday one of the perpetrators of the killing had turned himself in. However police said the other suspects had been “located” in northern France. And a massive manhunt was under way for the gunmen who killed 12 people in an assault at the magazine’s Paris offices on Wednesday.