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The War of Words and Drawings Keeps Hanging On As French satire magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ office firebombed over guess what?

The War of Words and Drawings Keeps Hanging On As French satire magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ office firebombed over guess what?

War of words over hate speech heating up DECEMBER 7, 2008
In the war of words over free speech, it seems one of the early combatants has switched sides.
Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy said attacks on Canadian or American soil are essentially attacks on Muslims. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)
Imam Syed Soharwardy is opening a Freedom of Speech Centre in Calgary – a place where he says people will be encouraged to openly discuss thorny cultural issues of the day.
It’s a new twist for the man who helped spark a national uproar two years ago over the role of human rights commissions in censoring hate speech.That debate’s still raging, and it’s a nasty one.
Conservative pundits and a growing number of major media outlets have turned on the commissions, saying they risk becoming kangaroo courts where special interest groups can bully the media and jeopardize Canadians’ freedom of speech.
On the other side, there are calls to preserve what advocates insist is a needed tool in the battle against hate speech – and a way to hold mainstream media outlets to account for biased journalism.
Soharwardy fired an early salvo in the battle, lodging a human rights complaint against publisher Ezra Levant. In February 2006, Levant published the notorious Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the now-defunct Western Standard magazine.
Ezra Levant, publisher of the now-defunct Western Standard magazine.
At the time, Soharwardy argued the cartoons were a form of hate speech.
However, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada has been through a lot since then. You might say he’s had a change of heart about hate.
“My view of the human rights commission has changed almost 180 degrees,” he told Canwest News Service. “Especially about this Section 13, the freedom of speech.”
Soharwardy backed out of the complaint against Levant, which was eventually dismissed by Alberta’s human rights commission, and has renounced the process.
“I wish we could have sat down at that time and talked it out rather than me going to a human rights complaint and Mr. Levant writing about me in the media and on the website,” Soharwardy says. “I think it would have helped us both.”
He says he hopes his planned Freedom of Speech Centre can help Muslims and all Canadians explore ways to balance hate speech and free speech.
He said he wants to help Muslims newly arrived from more repressive cultures to understand why, for example, Canadians can freely mock religions – and why that right to offend is an important pillar of democracy.
. . . a caricature of Mohammed   NOVEMBER 2, 2011
A gasoline bomb attack burned down the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Wednesday after it portrayed the Prophet Mohammed on its front page and named him “guest editor”.  < < < video
The arson attack was denounced across the French political spectrum as an assault on freedom of expression.  The fiercely anticlerical magazine said the move was intended to “celebrate” the victory of Islamist party Ennhada in Tunisia’s election, and the inclusion of Shariah in the Libyan constitution.
It’s editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, said: “We no longer have a newspaper. All our equipment has been destroyed.”
No one was hurt in the blaze, believed to have been started by two Molotov cocktails thrown at the paper’s headquarters in Paris’s 20th arrondissement overnight. Computers used to design the paper and digital archives were destroyed. Windows shattered in the heat and charred boxes were piled up outside the offices yesterday, with police guarding the entrance.
The magazine’s website was also hacked overnight, with the welcome page replaced by a picture of Mecca full of pilgrims and the words: “No god but Allah”. Charlie Hedbo has taken up temporary quarters at the Liberation newspaper’s offices.
“We will do everything possible to put a paper next week. There is no question of giving in to Islamists,” said Mr Charbonnier, who noted that the attackers could not have read the offending magazine. “Nobody knows what’s in it except those who bought it this morning, that’s what’s most abhorrent and stupid.” Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet on the premise it could lead to idolatry.
The cover of this week’s issue, out Wednesday, depicts Mohammed saying: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” A back page cartoon shows a bearded prophet with a red nose and the caption: “Yes, Islam is compatible with humour.”  The magazine is also mockingly renamed “Charia Hebdo” – a pun on Islamic Shariah law.More
Charlie Hebdo has been targeted by “fanatics who don’t accept critics of their religion,” claims Soren Espersen, deputy speaker of the Danish parliament.
The office of the French satirical newspaper was firebombed after it named Prophet Mohammed its editor-in-chief for the week.
The newspaper has come up with rather a provocative agenda, but Espersen, who is also an MP from the Danish People’s Party, believes that the really provocative thing was in fact “inviting thousands, millions of people from the Third World into Europe and creating new societies.”
The incident with the attack at the newspaper office was more about religious intolerance, Espersen believes.
“It is a question of the fanatic Islamists wanting to decide what can be said, what can be written and what can be drawn. In that way they are challenging our freedom of speech,” he said.
That is, the deputy Parliament speaker says, “one of the most cherished freedoms that we have at all,” so Europe“should not accept this by any chance.”


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