After firebomb, French newspaper fires back with Muslim ‘love’ cartoon cover

Dylan Stableford
November 8, 2011

A week after its offices in Paris were firebombed in apparent retaliation over a stunt involving the Prophet Mohammed, the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hedbo fired back with a cartoon cover featuring one of the publication's male cartoonists kissing a bearded Muslim under the headline: "L'Amour plus fort que la haine."

Translation: "Love: stronger than hate."

A Molotov cocktail destroyed Charlie Hebdo's offices on Nov. 2, a day after the paper published a satirical announcement that the Prophet Mohammed would be the guest editor of its next issue.

Stéphane Charbonnier, Charlie Hedbo's editor-in-chief, said last week the paper had a "right to mock."

"Freedom to have a good laugh is as important as freedom of speech," he said.

The publication has been using the offices of France's Libération newspaper since the  attack.

As the Guardian points out, French Muslim groups also condemned firebombing. "I am extremely attached to the freedom of the press," Paris Mosque head Dalil Boubakeur said, "even if the press is not always tender with Muslims, Islam or the Paris Mosque."

In 2005, a Danish newspaper published a series of cartoon drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, sparking violent protests and threats from Muslims throughout Europe and the Middle East. Al Qaeda claimed credit for a 2008 bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan, citing the cartoons as the reason for the attack. (Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons, which first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.)

Last year, a radical Muslim group threatened violent retribution against the creators of "South Park" for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit. Comedy Central subsequently censored the show when it aired, prompting criticism from the show's creators.

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