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Fire guts offices of French satirical magazine

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 3:09 EDT
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The offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published a special Arab Spring edition Wednesday with the prophet Mohammed as guest “editor”, were gutted in a petrol bomb attack overnight, police said.

The fire at the magazine started around 01.00 am (0200 GMT) and caused no injuries, a police source said.

Charlie Hebdo published a special edition Wednesday to mark the Arab Spring, renaming the magazine Charia (Sharia) Hebdo for the occasion.

The cover showed a cartoon of the prophet stating: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”

The depiction of the prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam.

A witness at the scene, Patrick Pelloux, told AFP a molotov cocktail was hurled through the window and set fire to the computer system.

“Everything was destroyed,” he said.

The magazine’s publisher, known only as Charb, said he was convinced the fire was linked to the special edition.

“On Twitter, on Facebook, we received several letters of protest, threats, insults,” which had been forwarded to the police, he said.

On Wednesday, the weekly said it would publish a special edition to “celebrate” the Ennahda Islamist party’s election victory in Tunisia and the transitional Libyan executive’s statement that Islamic Sharia law would be the country’s main source of law.

It would feature the prophet Mohammed as guest “editor”, the magazine said.

Charb on Tuesday rejected accusations that he was trying to provoke.

“We feel we’re just doing our job as usual. The only difference is that this week, Mohammed is on the cover and that’s quite rare,” he told AFP.

A Paris court in 2007 threw out a suit brought by two Muslim organisations against Charlie Hebdo for reprinting cartoons of prophet Mohammed that had appeared in a Danish newspaper, sparking angry protests by Muslims worldwide.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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