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.
Can't sleep tonight, thoughts with my French cartooning colleagues, their families and loved ones #CharlieHebdo pic.twitter.com/LqIMRCHPgK
— David Pope (@davpope) January 7, 2015
I support #CharlieHebdo. This attack is insane. #FreePress pic.twitter.com/kQajYmb32M
— Jeroen Mirck (@JeroenMirck) January 7, 2015
WaPo cartoonist @AnnTelnaes shows support for #CharlieHebdo http://t.co/RyV0pzWmzn pic.twitter.com/8mIMqmqXYY
— Andrew Katz (@katz) January 7, 2015
Cartoonisten support #CharlieHebdo. http://t.co/WVh8PPOo4n pic.twitter.com/v9dZvzmnRb
— LeatherBiker040 (@LeatherBiker040) January 7, 2015
All our support to @Charlie_Hebdo_ victims families & friends ─ Danny Rhodes & Terry Stillborn #CharlieHebdo pic.twitter.com/BmKWalAXCn
— Danny Rhodes (@DannyRh0des) January 7, 2015
In support of #CharlieHebdo THE POWER OF LOVE IS MORE POWERFUL THAN THE POWER OF HATRED! pic.twitter.com/ut6HBVpq0z
— The Last Mimzy (@mission_mimzy) January 7, 2015
Dear #ISIS, If you can't handle being lampooned then you are not ready to be politically relevant. #CharlieHebdo pic.twitter.com/zLmUQr0uh1
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) January 7, 2015
Spanish cartoonists have urged one another to stand together after the #CharlieHebdo attacks "To arms, companions!" pic.twitter.com/pWXWqTge9g
— Maps Maponyane (@MapsMaponyane) January 7, 2015
“@Hypathialex: #شارلي_إيبدو pic.twitter.com/WSfRGzdGzS” #JeSuisCharlie
— patrickbaz (@Patrick_Baz) January 7, 2015
Here's The @Independent cartoonist's response to the #CharlieHebdo attack: pic.twitter.com/4H4VWDS4qN
— amol rajan (@amolrajan) January 7, 2015
If you think violence can stop artistic expression and freedom of speech, you just got it all wrong #JeSuisCharlie pic.twitter.com/lYUthadfV2
— Karl Camilleri (@Makhami) January 7, 2015
Kalashnikov c/ des crayons… #JeSuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo pic.twitter.com/ltrLiOPGnQ
— J. (@Patriote_09) January 7, 2015
C'est un drame pour la France… #CharlieHebdo pic.twitter.com/lGfNUHfQIZ
— Cyprien (@MonsieurDream) January 7, 2015
(Image: David Pope)