Cartoonists are banding together in response to a horrific terrorist attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people, wounded seven, and left several others in critical condition on Wednesday morning. In the choas, the gunmen were reportedly shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “Allahu Akbar,” (“God is Great” in Arabic). Prominent cartoonists known as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski are now dead, along with editor Stephane Charbonnier.
The magazine’s last tweet before the attack was a cartoon of an Islamic State militant leader, and this week the magazine’s cover featured “author Michel Houllebecq, whose latest book called Soumission depicts France in 2022 being ruled by an Islamic government,” RT reports.
The irreverent French weekly has been mocking extremism, politics, and religion on and off since 1970, but it has been the depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and of Islam that have outraged Islamic extremists. In 2011, Islamic militants attacked its Paris offices in response to a front page cartoon that depicted the Prophet Mohammed barking, “a hundred lashes if you don’t die laughing.” Staff also received death threats, but the magazine responded with another cartoon mocking the extremism just six days later. Charbonnier said he wouldn’t stop targeting the religion until it was “just as banal as Catholicism.” The Paris offices have been under police protection ever since.
While the apparent Islamic militants have wreaked violence and chaos, they also unwittingly unleashed an army of artists equipped with words, pens, and the power of free speech. Below are some of the powerful images being shared across the world.
— David Pope (@davpope) January 7, 2015
— Jeroen Mirck (@JeroenMirck) January 7, 2015
— Andrew Katz (@katz) January 7, 2015
— LeatherBiker040 (@LeatherBiker040) January 7, 2015
— Danny Rhodes (@DannyRh0des) January 7, 2015
— The Last Mimzy (@mission_mimzy) January 7, 2015
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) January 7, 2015
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) January 7, 2015
— patrickbaz (@Patrick_Baz) January 7, 2015
— amol rajan (@amolrajan) January 7, 2015
— Karl Camilleri (@Makhami) January 7, 2015
— J. (@Patriote_09) January 7, 2015
— Cyprien (@MonsieurDream) January 7, 2015
(Image: David Pope)