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France’s Charlie Hebdo publishes provocative cartoon mocking Islam as a ‘religion of peace’

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French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo published a provocative front-page cartoon about Islam and the recent terror attacks in Spain on Wednesday, sparking fears that it could encourage Islamophobia.

The latest edition of the magazine, which was targeted by Islamist gunmen in 2015, shows two people lying in a pool of blood after being run over by a van next to the words, “Islam, eternal religion of peace.”

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A dozen extremists of Moroccan origin are believed to have plotted last week’s attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, where 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured after the assailants drove a van and car into crowds.

Investigators think the attackers were radicalised by an extremist Islamic preacher who died in an explosion while the group was trying to produce explosives.

Critics of Charlie Hebdo saw its front-page cartoon as tarring an entire religion, practised by around 1.5 billion people worldwide, by implying it is inherently violent.

As the cartoon became one of the top trending topics on Twitter in France — with more than 15,000 tweets praising or criticising it — prominent Socialist MP and former minister Stephane Le Foll called it “extremely dangerous”.

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“When you’re a journalist you need to exercise restraint because making these associations can be used by other people,” he said.

Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau defended the choice in an editorial, saying that experts and policy-makers were avoiding hard questions out of concern for moderate law-abiding 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.

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Charlie Hebdo lampoons all religions and religious figures, but its depictions of the Prophet Mohammed — an act considered sinful under Islam — sparked outrage, death threats and ultimately violence.

Two gunmen who claimed allegiance to Al-Qaeda killed 12 people in an attack on its offices in January 2015 which left many of its star cartoonists dead.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of France afterwards, rallying behind the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” (“I Am Charlie”) in defence of the right to free speech.

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Riss said in the wake of the violence that the magazine would stop depicting the prophet, leading one top journalist to quit and accuse its new management of going soft on Islamist extremism.

Patrick Pelloux, a former Charlie Hebdo contributor, defended the paper, saying: “We need to fight Islamist terrorism and religious radicalism, not a magazine.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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