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French satirical magazine's offices set on fire

By Ernest Dempsey     Nov 3, 2011 in Crime
The offices of French magazine of satire ‘Charlie Hebdo’ were set on fire in Paris on Tuesday night apparently for the special edition featuring spoof on Islamic law.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the magazine had put a caricature of Islam’s prophet Muhammad on its title cover and quoted him saying, “100 lashes if you don't die from laughter.” The issue was also dubbed as Sharia Weekly, ‘Sharia’ being the Arabic term for Islamic law. Reuters reported that the magazine’s cover says the issue was guest-edited by Muhammad.
Earlier editions of the magazine appearing online drew criticism and bitterness and some journalists writing for the magazine also received anonymous threats over the past few days. The magazine’s website was subsequently hacked. The fire, at first thought by the police to have been caused by a firebomb, is believed to have started around midnight (GMT). While it has destroyed the office internally, the building stands. No injuries have been caused by the fire.
Following the fire, suspected as arson, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon asked the Interior Minister Claude Gueant for tracking down those responsible for the fire. He reminded that freedom of expression is inseparable from democracy and nothing justifies violent action. Senior Muslim cleric of France Tareq Oubrou has also condemned the attack on the magazine’s office. He called on all Muslims not to take the issue seriously or consider it a provocation against their religion.
CNN reports that a Turkish cyber group Cyber-Warrior TIM has claimed responsibility for hacking into the magazine’s website. In both English and Turkish, the group’s message put online says that the magazine has been abusing Islam’s prophet Muhammad under the excuse of freedom of speech. But the group has not claimed responsibility for the fire that destroyed the magazine’s office. Police say they have started an investigation into the case.
More about Charlie Hebdo, Sharia, satire on Islam, Prophet Muhamamd, democracy and press
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