‘Koran is shit’ cover causes outrage
THE bane of every publisher of a periodical is to put an issue to bed, only to have a fresh angle develop a day or two later.
This morning I am spitting tacks because the March issue of the print edition of the Freethinker – sent to press just yesterday – features a lengthy and very entertaining tribute to the irrepressible and mischievous François Cavanna, founder of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
If Cavanna, an ardent atheist who died aged 90 on January 29 had hung about a little longer, he would no doubt be merrily chortling over the fact that Charlie Hebdo has annoyed French Muslims – again!
So much so that they are planning to have it prosecuted for blasphemy.
What infuriated them this time is a cover which declares:
The Koran is crap, it doesn’t stop bullets.
In 2011, the magazine’s offices in Paris were destroyed in a firebomb attack after it produced a issue it called Charia Hebdo.
Its website was also hacked with a message in English and Turkish cursing the magazine:
You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be God’s curse upon you!
No firebombs this time. Instead, the League of Judicial Defence of Muslims (LDJM), led by the former lawyer Karim Achoui, has decided to turn to the courts instead.
Taking advantage of the existence of the crime of “blasphemy” uniquely available in the Alsace-Moselle region – it no longer exists in the rest of French common law – the League has brought the case against Charlie Hebdo to the Criminal Court in Alsace-Moselle’s capital, Strasbourg. The hearing is set for 7 April.
One complication is that the Alsatian blasphemy law does not recognise Islam, covering only Catholicism, three forms of Protestantism and Judaism. This test case will decide whether the law can be widened to include Islam.
The LDJM is also trying to prosecute Charlie Hebdo in a Paris court for:
Provocation and incitement to hatred on the basis of religious affiliation.
The Tribunal of First Instance in Paris will decide whether the case can proceed.
France has racial and religious hatred laws that are intended to protect only individuals. French courts will consider cases that cause “injury, personal and direct attack against a group of people because of their religious affiliation” or incitement to racial or religious hatred in cases involving defamation of individuals.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn