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!"
Another controversial issue features a fictional retelling of the story of the birth of Jesus and suggests that He was a child of sin, scourge of dragons, sandpit faith healer, child-killer, blinder of men, hyperactive child king, tormentor of His teachers, and apprentice prophet.
Jesus is also featured on a Charlie Hebdo cover being crucified on the cross telling officials at the Vatican to let Him down so that He can vote in the papal elections. It reads: "Another Rigged Election! Let me down, I want to vote."
The drawings featured on the covers were defended by artist Bernard Velhac who was gunned down in the Paris killings on Jan. 7. Velhac had defended the publication's cartoons by saying they have the "right to blasphemy."
Artist Stéphane Charbonnier, who was also killed in last Wednesday's attacks, had joined his colleagues in defending the drawings back in 2012. "We publish caricatures every week, but people only describe them as declarations of war when it's about the person of the prophet or radical Islam."
Catholic League President Bill Donohue spoke out about last week's terrorist attacks in a statement in which he said "Muslims are right to be angry" over Charlie Hebdo's controversial cartoons. He stated that the cartoonists "abused freedom" with their offensive pictures that have insulted various religions over the years.
Last week's attack was led by three gunmen who stormed the offices of the French satirical magazine carrying AK-47s and a rocket launcher. They killed 12 and wounded five others. The attack was a response from Muslim jihadists angered by a cover that featured the Muslim prophet Muhammad.