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Free Speech vs. Fear
by Adam Turner
For those who don't know, Charlie Hebdo is a satirical French weekly that has shown, time and time again, its courage in defending the speech rights of Western civilization to discuss and make fun of all subject matters. Among its targets, it has made light of many of the major religions, including the Catholic Church, and Judaism.
But its efforts to ridicule Islam, radical Muslims, and Mohammed himself, have resulted in increasing violence and death for Charlie Hebdo. In 2006, Hebdo first offended Islamists (i.e., radical Muslims) by reproducing the Danish Mohammed cartoons during that year's international controversy. Although many of the Danish cartoons were not deprecatory of Mohammed, the Islamists still objected to them, as they do not allow for any pictorial presentation of Mohammed. These radical Muslims also threaten physical harm to any who depict them. In 2011, Charlie Hebdo produced their own cartoons of Mohammed, which prompted Muslim radicals to firebomb the Hebdo offices. But Charlie Hebdo stood tall, and with the help of sympathetic French press printed an extra 175,000 copies after its first print run of 75,000 had sold out. Then, Hebdo further tweaked the Islamists with the following edition featuring a cartoon of a Muslim man and a man labeled Charlie Hebdo locked in a homosexual kiss.
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