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A Satire Draws Fire
by Mark Tapson
Here we go again. Charlie Hebdo, a humor magazine in Paris which had produced a spoof issue "guest edited" by, as The New York Times and other media outlets refer to him, the "Prophet Mohammed," was firebombed early Wednesday just as the special edition was on its way to the newsstands. Hackers had also disrupted its website 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!"
The magazine had announced the special issue in satirical salute to the "Arab Spring" victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections: "Charlie Hebdo has asked Mohammed to be the special editor-in-chief of its next issue," the magazine said in a statement. "The prophet of Islam didn't have to be asked twice and we thank him for it." It renamed itself Charia Hebdo, a pun on the word "shariah," for the occasion, and featured an editorial by Mohammed entitled "Halal Aperitif" and a women's supplement called "Madam Sharia." On the cover was a cartoon of Mohammed announcing, "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter."
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