New Hebdo cover gives further offence

New Hebdo cover gives further offence

Dr Omer el-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain, today hit out at the cover of tomorrow’s edition of Charlie Hebdo.

According to the Guardian, which warned that “this article contains the image of the magazine cover, which some may find offensive”, el-Hamdoon said:

My reaction to the cartoon is disgust, but tending more to annoyance as well because I feel that what’s happening here is not that different from what we witnessed back in 2005 with the Danish cartoons when media outlets went into a cycle of just publishing the cartoons just to show defiance. And what that caused is more offence.


Speaking on the BBC Today programme, el-Habdoon, above, said causing offence “just for the purpose of offending” was not freedom of speech.

And Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan said the latest cartoon had added more salt to the wound.

The cover, depicts Mohammed shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” in sympathy with the dead journalists. The headline says “All is forgiven”.

Zineb El Rhazoui, a surviving columnist at Charlie Hebdo magazine who worked on the new issue, said the cover was a call to forgive the terrorists who murdered her colleagues last week, saying she did not feel hate towards Chérif and Saïd Kouachi despite their deadly attack on the magazine, and urged Muslims to accept humour.

We don’t feel any hate to them. We know that the struggle is not with them as people, but the struggle is with an ideology.

A record three million copies are to be printed in 16 languages after the massacre triggered a worldwide debate on free speech and brought more than four million people on to the streets of France in a unity march on Sunday.

The eight-page edition went to the presses on Monday night, according to Libération, the newspaper that offered Charlie Hebdo staff temporary working space following the attack.

The cover cartoon was drawn by the weekly’s cartoonist Luz, who survived the massacre because he was late arriving at the office.

Newspapers around Europe, including Libération, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine, have used the image online. The BBC showed it briefly during a newspaper review on Newsnight. In the US, The Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast and CBS News ran the cover but The New York Times did not.

In Australia, the ABC showed the image of the cartoon on its 24-hour rolling news programme but with a warning to viewers. The Guardian said it was:

Running this cover as its news value warrants publication.

Rhazoui said Muslims could ignore the magazine if they took offence.

I would tell them it is a drawing and they are not obliged to buy this edition of Charlie Hebdo if they don’t appreciate our work. We are only doing our job, we don’t violate the law.

She added:

Our friends died because of small drawings, because of a joke, but what happen to us was not a joke. Muslims must understand that we in Charlie Hebdo just consider Islam as a normal religion just like any other religion in France. Islam must accept to be treated like all the other religions in this country. And they must accept humour also.

Former French prime minister François Fillon, speaking on Tuesday on France Inter, said he thought the front cover of Charlie Hebdo was “magnificent” and it carried the message of compassion given by all regions.

I have always defended Charlie Hebdo. There can be no debate on freedom of expression, never.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, told the Today programme that Charlie Hebdo had no choice but to print the cover it had.

You cannot have a march through the streets of Paris attended by 46 world leaders, four million people, climaxing with a shout of ‘We are not afraid’ and then not print the central object of contention.

Of course they are right to do that and I am afraid it is absolutely vital now that everybody stands up and defends their right to publish. You may not agree with what they have done, you may be offended by what they have done, but you should defend their right to publish it.

25 responses to “New Hebdo cover gives further offence”

  1. Ivan says:

    “…The BBC showed it briefly during a newspaper review on Newsnight…”

    Did anyone else see Panorama last night with Tom Mangold reporting on the Paris shootings? It was surprisingly forthright.

  2. andym says:

    Some , not all, Muslims now seem to be seeing that the battle for official censorship is lost in the west. So they are moving on to the self-censorship argument-in its way much more dangerous as you never know what is likely to offend the religious , so end up not saying anything that could remotely be deemed critical

  3. andym says:

    Another example of the above, predictably from Mo “No” Ansar.

  4. Andy Brown says:

    I looked on the BBC News website for the magazine cover, but of course the spineless religion apologists didn’t show it…..I would have been surprised if they had shown it based on past form.

  5. barriejohn says:

    I provided the following link on the previous thread, so I will post it here as well:

  6. barriejohn says:

    The “spineless religion apologists” do, in fact, feature the cover here:

  7. Paul Cook says:

    On the BBC news this morning the reporter from Paris ( forgot his name) cowardly said he had the magazine but wouldn’t show it. Wouldn’t show it – but with no explanation. But the explanation is self evident cowardice and fear.


    I have nothing but contempt for the BBC, self righteous apologists and censoring cowards, grand apologists for all religions.

    As to the so called British muslims- / there is no religion associated with the word ‘British’ – and it is offensive to say who you are something different. You are either British or else you aren’t – there is no necessity for any other addition.

  8. L.Long says:

    If you are going to criticize, make fun of, laugh at, or ridicule ANY religion be prepared for a push back of some sort. Never trust a gathering of 2 or more as they can be vicious and mean.

  9. JohnMWhite says:

    @Paul Cook – I don’t know what you’re on about there. The BBC showed the cover during Newsnight and on their website. And it’s fairly self-evident what a British Muslim is, surely? It’s a British person who is a Muslim. There are British tennis players and British actors and British Jews and British biologists too.

    Former French prime minister François Fillon, speaking on Tuesday on France Inter, said he thought the front cover of Charlie Hebdo was “magnificent” and it carried the message of compassion given by all regions.

    I do believe a religion carrying a message quite contrary to compassion is how this all kicked off in the first place. Do we really need to keep holding the hands of these people and reassuring them that their precious Deeply Held Beliefs™ aren’t the amoral monstrosity their holy books quite clearly demonstrate? Am I a bad guy for not giving a shit about their religious sensibilities and not believing their bullshit about it being an important guide in their lives?

  10. Cali Ron says:

    I’m not familiar with Dr Omer el-Hamdoon, but I will definitely continue to not pay any attention to anything he says. How can a cartoon cause more “offense” than killing the people who wrote and published it? What a sick and deranged asshole!

    As weak as the BBC response may be American media seem to have already forgotten it happened. All they want to talk about here is the fact that Obama didn’t attend the rally, then make insipid statements about how it’s there fault for being offensive. This is especially weak on Faux News where they spend most of there time saying offensive things about Obama, liberals and atheists. Religious political correctness gone mad! Such hypocrisy!

  11. Cali Ron says:

    Just did an internet search and can’t find any major US media outlet that had the balls to show it. More blabber about “differentiating between free speech and “offending” someone. What would offending someone have to do with it. In fact, that’s the point. You are free to offend-that falls under the definition of free speech. I’m ashamed of my countries media.

  12. JohnMWhite says:

    You are free to offend, but people keep asking “why would you do that?” As if what just happened in Paris isn’t the fucking reason. People who think the world ought to exist in such a manner that those who offend their faith should be killed just went and acted on that because it seemed sustainable as a belief. Showing that the world isn’t their fifedom is the point.

  13. Robster says:

    How sad (ridiculous?) that in 2014, the world’s second largest belief system has followers, many of them who “must learn to accept humour also”. Those inflicted with islam all seem to be devoid of a sense of humour. Didn’t Mad Mo tell jokes?

  14. Maggie says:

    It’s not about the pictures as such. It’s about getting non-believers to obey Islamic law, well Sunni (Saudi) law. As far as I’m concerned it’s their god, their laws. Too many don’t see it that way, and I’m not just talking about the Parisian gunmen and their ilk.

  15. Newspaniard says:

    Bloody BBC, lying through its teeth again. I wouldn’t mind betting that revising its guidelines was not even on its list until Question Time. Too many islamists in the administration of the BBC.

  16. AgentCormac says:

    @Andy Brown

    Actually, Andy, they did show it on the BBC News website.

  17. Har Davids says:

    I don’t know where he got is doctorate, but has Dr Omer el-Hamdoon ever considered ignorning certain ‘offending’ stuff all of us are constantly bombarded with? He could, for starters, pretend that the Mohamed on the front-page is just one of the many of his co-religionists with that name, who actually feels sorry for what happened.

    It makes life so much simpler.

  18. barriejohn says:

    The magazine sold out almost immediately this morning:

  19. barriejohn says:

    Har Davids: He’s a DENTIST!

    Cue Hitler-related jokes along the lines of “I’d rather have all my teeth pulled than listen to Dr We’re-all-Doomed’s nonsense again”.

  20. Dave says:

    I’m not at all sure exactly what Mr el-Habdoon finds so disgusting about this cover.

  21. Angela_K says:

    A valid and often missed point is: does anyone know what Mo looked like, if he did in fact exist as described by the Koran. If there is no definitive likeness, why the fuss? The same applies to the mythical Jesus of the Bible who is usually portrayed as a Mel Gibson look-alike.

  22. andym says:

    Angela K. The point about Jesus goes further. He is considered a prophet in Islam. How long before his images are deemed “haram”, and Christian expression curtailed by a combinations of threats and urges towards self-restraint? Outlandish? Who could have predicted such a fuss about a few cartoons a decade ago. Christians might look differently on a duty not to cause offence if it happened.

  23. barriejohn says:

    I belonged to a Christian sect many of whose stricter members thought that “images of Christ” were blasphemous. How can squiggles on a piece of paper be “blasphemous”? If Jesus really existed, how can anyone say that their representation of him is anything like accurate – or are they claiming, like the icon painters, some sort of divine hand in such works? If you were to remove his image from “The Last Supper”, would the painting now become acceptable? And suppose Leonardo then says: “No – he’s second from the right, actually”; does it become blasphemous once again? The more you think about it the more ridiculous it all becomes!

  24. Trevor Blake says:

    I raise my glass in honor of Mr. G. W. Foote, who knew about the cost of mocking religion in print.

  25. John says:

    Thank you for publishing the cover, Barry. Was worried I might not see it!