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The Media's Muhammad Blackout Defers Again to Islam
by Andrew E. Harrod
Yet again depictions of Islam's prophet Muhammad are causing controversy. The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has published a special edition released in January 2013 entitled La Vie de Mahomet, 1ère partie: Les débuts d'un prophète ("The Life of Muhammad, Part One: The Debut of a Prophet"; part two will follow in June 2013). Press reaction in both France and Germany, however, has not been uniformly welcoming, demonstrating once more a media aversion to open examination of Islam.
Charlie Hebdo has previously published cartoons involving Muhammad and sharia Islamic law, with the weekly magazine's offices becoming in the process the victim of a firebombing attack. Charlie Hebdo describes online its latest presentation of Muhammad as a factual transposition of "Muhammad's life as told by Muslim chroniclers into images." "In the West," the magazine explained, "everyone is able to cite episodes from the life of Jesus, but who is able to cite episodes from the life of Muhammad? Is this normal in a country like France, where Islam is presented as the second religion?" "If the form appears to some blasphemous," Charlie Hebdo argued, "the substance is perfectly halal."
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