Charlie Hebdo editor says the paper is done with prophet Muhammad cartoons

Jul 28, 2015

Carlos Villalba R./EPA

By Ishaan Tharoor

The top editor and publisher of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French newspaper that suffered a deadly terrorist attack in January, said the publication would no longer draw the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have garnered it worldwide notoriety.

“We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever one wants,” said Laurent Sourisseau, in an interview this week with Stern, a German magazine.

But Sourisseau, who goes by the cartoonist nickname “Riss,” said that it was not Charlie Hebdo’s intent to be “possessed” by its critique of Islam. “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions,” he said.

On Jan. 7, two Islamist militants stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices, killing 12 of its journalists, including some of its top editors and cartoonists. According to statements made later by al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which claimed responsibility for the attack, they were punishing the newspaper for its mocking depiction of Muhammad, images of whom are considered blasphemous in Islam.


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24 comments on “Charlie Hebdo editor says the paper is done with prophet Muhammad cartoons

  • “We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever one wants,” said Laurent Sourisseau, in an interview this week with Stern, a German magazine.

    But Sourisseau, who goes by the cartoonist nickname “Riss,” said that it was not Charlie Hebdo’s intent to be “possessed” by its critique of Islam. “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions,” he said.

    Perhaps a rationalization but one finds it hard to blame the editors of this magazine for this discussion. I’m sure someone down the line and soon enough will be drawing Muhammad again.

    (:)–{—–<



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  • Yes, I’m sure they (Charlie Hebdo) will if it becomes topical again. It sounds from reading the article he is suffering from PTS I’m sure the drawing of Mohammad does make him feel sick to the stomach.



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  • Publishing the cartoons achieved its required purpose which is to assist its readers the apprehension
    of the true nature of a religion that meets all the criterion to be considered as a cult of death.

    Charlie Hebdo meant to enlighten not to offend.



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  • This is sad. The Muslims have won by having no concept of decency.
    I don’t blame Charlie Hebdo. How can you draw knowing at any instant lunatics might burst in and shoot up the place? It would wear you down. Over the years my opinion of Islam has got worse and worse. Right now I wish it disappear from the earth.



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  • Problem is, the process starts from early childhood and should you decide later to leave, your treatment would make catholic excommunication look extremely mild in comparison.. My next door neighbours are Muslims and we get on extremely well – but one of his first comments to me was his need to pray five times a day. Needless to say I haven’t mentioned anything about my “beliefs”! Mentioned the current butchery in the Middle East to another Muslim and got the standard remark expressed with suitable horror: ” Islam is a religion of peace”!
    Couldn’t imagine living in a Islamic State!



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  • Last time I checked, CH was still criticizing Islam (and all religions), and Zineb El Rhazoui still published her “Heretic of the Week” column.

    Maybe they should draw cartoons of all prophets but Mohamed, to make a point. Muslim might then feel discriminated against.



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  • Very good idea ! They will start burning mosques to draw attention to the fact that they, too, exist , and deserve to have their own righteous place in the glorious symphony of all-religions-bashing…….



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  • No one seems to have mentioned yet that the Charlie Hebdo incident may have been a ‘false flag’ designed specifically to generate ill will towards Islam and Muslims and that happens to serve the interests of a certain state in the Middle East, a state that whilst avowedly secular in character is itself paradoxically founded on deeply held ethno-religious principles. Also, by curious coincidence, ever more repressive laws seem to get enacted whenever these incidents (9/11, 7/7, etc.) occur.

    Any belief in the supernatural is bad when taken to extremes but we must bear in mind the same goes for secular belief systems too. We as human beings simply cannot escape the fact that our actions are most often grounded in secular rationalisations of the metaphysical, rationalisations that ultimately have philosophical or ideological underpinnings that are themselves immune to empirical falsification and otherwise indistinguishable from their theological counterparts resting as they do on appeals to authority, whether that be God, nature or society.



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  • Ipse Dixit
    Jul 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    No one seems to have mentioned yet that the Charlie Hebdo incident may have been a ‘false flag’ designed specifically to generate ill will towards Islam and Muslims and that happens to serve the interests of a certain state in the Middle East,

    That sounds like fanciful conspiracy theory!

    The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group

    and otherwise indistinguishable from their theological counterparts resting as they do on appeals to authority, whether that be God, nature or society.

    That is certainly the fallacious nature of media propagandists and ideologists, but I can’t really see a secular or atheist connection to this!

    It is the sort of stuff rational critical thinkers campaign against.



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  • Sounds like the terrorists won that argument. The purpose of terrorism is to change the behavior of others through radical means – when you do wind up changing your behavior, you’ve told the terrorists they are right and condoning their activity and behavior. Since the terrorists now see that their activity is working (9/11 was a huge success as it caused massive changes to security and has cost billions of man-hours for travelers, pilots, police and governments), how can they be anything but emboldened to commit more heinous acts against others to bring about their desired changes?

    Charlie Hebdo would have done better to simply not draw Muhammad anymore and simply say nothing to the effect. Making the public announcement is conceding to defeat and giving the terrorists the victory they were after.



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  • But Sourisseau, who goes by the cartoonist nickname “Riss,” said that it was not Charlie Hebdo’s intent to be “possessed” by its critique of Islam. “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions,” he said.
    Renald Luzier, who goes by the nickname “Luz,” told a French cultural magazine that drawing the prophet Muhammad “no longer interests me.” He went on: “I’ve got tired of it, just as I got tired of drawing [former French president Nicolas] Sarkozy. I’m not going to spend my life drawing them.”

    In context it seems reasonable to take the men at Hebdo at their word. Their magazine contains satirical cartoons, caricatures, critical of a wide range of political, religious and cultural figures, events and trends. After the massacre, if Hebdo doubled down on Mohammed, Islam and Jihadist terrorists they would appear to be engaging in a blood feud against a single enemy that constitutes a world religion practiced by a small minority of French citizens. Over time, the focus would be construed first as obsessive bigotry, morphing into hate speech dehumanizing peaceful Muslims and advocating prejudice, discrimination, persecution and perhaps expulsion



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  • To ”IPSE DIXIT” : Could you tell us, in plain simple words, what you mean by “secular rationalisations of the metaphysical” ???

    Never heard of such a combination of words before… Either concepts are ”metaphysical” (i.e. : beyond the world of physics), which means that you can’t prove of disprove them… OR they belong to the ”physical” world, to which rigorous reason can apply. Period.

    Also, could you explain what are ”secular belief systems taken to extremes ? We all can see what ”beliefs in the supernatural taken to extremes” are up to, but ”extremely not believing” in the supernatural… it looks a bit difficult to figure that out…



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  • A simple thing that nobody ever mentions, is that Charlie Hebdo is a NEWS magazine. That means, they react to the latest news just like any other media. When the pope makes the headlines, they get down on him with their characteristic, vitriolic manner.

    Same thing when Merkel, the Dalaï Lama, Putin or the king of Zanzibar happen to be on the frontpage.

    So, when islamic barbarians pop up in the news with their retarded, obscurantist pretense that drawing their ignominous prophet is definitely forbidden, they take an impish pleasure to draw him. No more, no less.

    Maybe, next time iSSlam gets back in the headlines, they will probably take up the task once again.



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  • This is a victory for Muslim fundamentalists and their terrorist arm Al Qaeda and ISIS. They can now claim that violence does work and is worthwhile. . What will come next, close down the pubs? force women to cover their hair? forbid pork delicatessen? etc. Appeasement just doesn’t work with totalitarian organizations.
    I’m very sorry for this decision on the part of Charlie Hebdo.



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  • 21
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    Charlie Hebdo would have done better to simply not draw Muhammad anymore and simply say nothing to the effect. Making the public announcement is conceding to defeat and giving the terrorists the victory they were after.

    Now that is a great point and one that nobody else made, not even The Young Turks. I couldn’t agree more. I understand how despondent the survivors at Charlie Hebdo must be but I can’t really blame them.

    But I DO blame the mainstream media like the New York Times and TV news channels for being the first to give in to Islamic intimidation by not showing or reprinting the cover of the following issue of Charlie Hebdo. It was their duty to show solidarity and share the risk… but THEY chickened out and made sure that Islamists had already won 90% of the fight. Now this is the last nail in the coffin and terrorists won. This is a really sad day for freedom of expression.

    I’m still hopeful that the people at Charlie Hebdo may at some point change their mind and just say “Nawww we were just messing with you, we’re not going to stop”. In fact they could in the future turn the whole episode into a joke and declare that they voluntarily misled the public in order to preserve their reputation of “journal irresponsable”.

    That’s the great advantage of comedy, it doesn’t really matter if a joke makes you look bad. As long as it makes people laugh, they will come back for more. I think the people at CH are simply exhausted and badly need a break and the PC Western liberal media, for their part need to grow a pair and hop onto the satire bandwagon.



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  • This is a victory for Muslim fundamentalists and their terrorist arm Al Qaeda and ISIS. They can now claim that violence does work and is worthwhile. . What will come next, close down the pubs? force women to cover their hair? forbid pork delicatessen? etc. Appeasement just doesn’t work with totalitarian organizations.

    Though Muslim minority enclaves in France can enforce ostensibly voluntary codes of dress, diet, and religious conduct on ethnic-sectarian members, their power over the French government and non-Muslim French population is virtually nil. The dilemma for secular humanists is not cut and dried but highly ambiguous. From our perspective, it’s too facile to revel in the sight of the Islamic ox getting gored by any means possible. Everyone “we” know takes the same pleasure. (It’s only free speech!) From the Muslim Arab perspective, Charlie Hebdo is the hateful expression of a society that justifies their dehumanization and marginalization by ridiculing their beloved prophet and their ethnic identity.

    Take a close look at the caricature of Mohammed displayed behind Laurent Sourisseau in the title photo. The image clearly depicts an ugly, vile Semite with a hooked sausage nose, frowning liver lips and fanatical bug eyes. Now imagine that you are a law-abiding, tolerant Muslim looking up at this face. However progressive your core values, you would likely be provoked to wonder: “Is this the way my neighbors respect the holy founder of my cherished faith?…Is this grotesque stereotype the way my neighbors see me and my family? It’s not so easy to untangle the conflicting emotions in this can of worms.



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  • “We as human beings simply cannot escape the fact that our actions are most often grounded in secular rationalisations of the metaphysical, rationalisations that ultimately have philosophical or ideological underpinnings that are themselves immune to empirical falsification and otherwise indistinguishable from their theological counterparts resting as they do on appeals to authority, whether that be God, nature or society.”

    There’s no reason to believe any sort of ‘metaphysical’ exists so you can’t say most of our actions are based on it.
    Secular moralities are based on ideas such as fairness and empathy. These ideas are not ’empirically falsifiable’ (a meaningless idea in this context) but they are up for debate as they DON’T rest on appeals to authority unlike religious views; secularism is based on the idea that there isn’t a higher moral authority (an idea that is empirically falsifiable, all you need to do is prove the existence of one).



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  • No one mentioned it (until you) because it’s simply not a credible idea.

    If Hebdo was a false flag operation, but the others (9/11, 7/7, various embassy bombings, etc.) were real, tell me what was the point?
    Without Hebdo, Muslims worldwide had still been doing a bang up job of discrediting Islam with atrocities. Why risk exposure by manufacturing yet another incident? One that could easily backfire, if discovered, and thereby cast doubt on the real terror incidents!

    Or are we to believe that most/all Muslim terrorist actions are actually false flag operations?



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