Despite unanimous support for French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was the victim of an Islamic terrorist attack that killed 12 people at its offices on Wednesday last week, many British newspapers have chosen not to publish the front page of the new issue, which again depicts the Prophet Muhammed.
Charlie Hebdo is going out tomorrow with a cartoon portraying Muhammed holding a sign that says “Je Suis Charlie,” the popular slogan that expresses support for the magazine. Above Muhammed’s head are the words “Tout est pardonné”, meaning “all is forgiven.”
Some Muslims consider it offensive to portray Prophet Muhammed in any format, and Charlie Hebdo has a long story of cartoons featuring the Prophet.
But after calling the attack a “war on freedom” last week, only two British national newspapers published the new cartoon today, which was released last night by Libération, another French newspaper which is hosting Charlie Hebdo’s surviving editorial team in its offices.
The Guardian online edition published a small thumbnail of the new cover halfway through its article, after a bold disclaimer that reads: “Warning: this article contains the image of the magazine cover, which some may find offensive.”
The Independent does pretty much the same, publishing a thumbnail towards the end of the article and warning its readers that: “An image in this article may offend some readers.”
The Times chose not to publish the cartoon either, sparkling angry reactions from its readers, who do not seem to appreciate the decision: one reader wrote in the comment section that: “Our fathers and grandfathers fought and gave their lives for free speech in this country, they would be ashamed of The Times today as I am.”
Another reader has announced he will “decline to renew his subscription,” while a third simply confesses he has just gone to The Guardian to see the cartoon.
The Daily Mail made a similar choice, and triggered similar reactions: “Show the cover then you cowards,” one reader wrote.
The BBC is not showing the cover either (except on Newsnight), but Buzzfeed put it right at the top of their coverage.
Business Insider decided to publish the cartoon, given the general interest in the news. We’re hoping that people with devout religious beliefs understand that this is not a provocation, and can respect the freedom of the press during this crisis.
Here it is:
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