Before radical Islamic terrorists attacked the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris last Wednesday, which left 12 people dead, including the publication's editor and four cartoonists, the controversial magazine had already sustained a firebomb attack by Muslims in 2011, and was sued 13 times by Catholic organizations for its offensive depictions of popes, Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity.
The Catholic groups reportedly filed the lawsuits in reaction to several offensive covers that depict Christian figures, such as the Holy Trinity and Pope Benedict XVI, in compromising positions. One of the covers features an older man as God, a drawing of Jesus, and something that resembles the eye of horus meant to be the Holy Spirit, all engaged in sodomy. The drawing was intended to mock the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage.
Another cover features what appears to be Benedict XVI uttering the words "God doesn't exist! That turd! I had my doubts!" more >>
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is set to feature the Muslim prophet Mohammad holding the sign "Je suis Charlie" on the cover of its first edition since the terror attack on its offices last week that killed 12 people. Drawings of the Islamic holy figure are largely believed to be the reason why Muslim gunmen targeted the newspaper in the attack.
Reuters reported that the magazine is planning to print 3 million copies of Wednesday's edition, which is many times more than its regular run of 60,000 copies. Beside the drawing of Muhammad, the cover includes the text "Tout est pardonné," meaning "All is forgiven."
Two gunmen killed 12 cartoonists in the attack on Charlie Hebdo's offices last week, while 17 people in total died in related attacks across the city. The magazine has a history of publishing drawings of Muhammad, seen as offensive by many in the Islamic world, and has seen its offices firebombed in the past. more >>
Theologian James Emery White questions whether many in America who so easily embraced the global outrage in the defense of freedom of expression as the result of the murderous attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo would be as quick to defend the rights of others to express moral standards different than their own.
In his blog post, "Are You Charlie?" White quotes Brian Pellot who reflected: "I do not consider myself racist, homophobic, Islamophobic or misogynistic. 'Being Charlie' doesn't mean being any of these things, despite what you think about the magazine's tact and tone. … As advocates for freedom of expression we must sometimes defend views we find repulsive. This doesn't require us to endorse them. In this case, we must protect what gunmen tried to kill, a satirical magazine some deem offensive. #JeSuisCharlie simply means, 'I defend freedom of expression.'"
White then responds: "Yes. But it's easy to side with such a sentiment when it comes to the exercise of free press in the face of senseless terrorism which seeks to silence it. It's not so easy when it comes to allowing people to live by convictional standards that seemingly draw into question your own." more >>
Despite widespread support from western journalists defending the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's right to offend after a terrorist attack on its Paris office left 12 people dead last Wednesday, a series of leaked emails between journalists at the Qatari-government run news outlet Al Jazeera has revealed a cultural rift between western staff and their Middle East counterparts about that support.
Reminding staff of their audience in the series of emails leaked to National Review Online, Salah-Aldeen Khadr, executive producer of Al Jazeera English, questioned whether the attack against the magazine was about free speech.
"You don't actually stick it to the terrorists by insulting the majority of Muslims by reproducing more cartoons — you actually entrench the very animosity and divisions these guys seek to sow," Khadr wrote. more >>
UPDATE: 8 p.m. Jan. 13, 2015
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday the American Family Association's petition calling on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to reinstate Kelvin Cochran as the city's fire chief has garnered over 42,000 signatures, while the Family Research Council's petition has garnered more than 32,000 signatures.
Various Christian and social conservative activist groups have launched petition campaigns requesting that the mayor of Atlanta reinstate the city's former fire chief, who was fired last week after the city investigated a book he wrote that included short passages affirming his Christian belief that homosexuality is wrong. more >>
French Officials defended President Barack Obama on Monday amid growing criticisms about his absence from an anti-terrorism rally in Paris on Sunday. The United States was represented by the Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.
World leaders from around the world joined an estimated 3.7 million people who marched in rallies across France yesterday (1.5 million in Paris), to promote peace and unity days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Top White House officials, including the president himself, were noticeably absent from the unity march, which drew criticism, but on Monday senior French officials defended Obama to veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour. more >>