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Charlie Hebdo accused of stirring anti-Muslim hatred

29th Sep 2017

Nadine Osman

Controversial French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has caused a new storm with front cover blaming terrorist attacks in Europe on Islam. A cover illustration depicts two blood-drenched pedestrians after being hit by a speeding van, with the caption: “Islam is the religion of peace eternal.”

It has become one of the top trending topics on Twitter in France, with users describing it as “Islamophobic”, “dangerous”, “racist” and “disgusting”. Social Media users also accused it of stirring up hatred against Muslims by linking Islam to terrorism.

Socialist lawmaker and former minister Stephane Le Foll said Charlie Hebdo risked fanning anti-Muslim hate crime and called the front page “extremely dangerous”.

“To say that Islam is a religion of peace by implying that it is, in fact, a religion of death is extremely dangerous when you’re a journalist, you need to exercise restraint because making these associations can be used by others,” said Le Foll.

The cover comes shortly after terrorist attacks on Las Ramblas in central Barcelona and another vehicle incident in the Catalan town of Cambrils that killed 15 people and injured 100 more.

In an editorial Charlie Hebdo’s Editor, Laurent Sourisseau, said experts and policy-makers are avoiding asking hard questions out of concern for moderate Muslims.

“The debates and questions about the role of religion and in particular the role of Islam in these attacks have completely disappeared,” he wrote.

However, Marseille-based anti-bigotry activist Nadiya Benzema told The Muslim News, “This is beyond a question of political correctness, it’s about the dehumanisation of minorities because satirical or not journalism is a powerful tool with which people’s approach to others is formed. This type of journalism can and does fuel anti-Muslim hate crime.”

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