Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why does Charlie Hebdo attack religion?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why don’t people who don’t know anything about religion constantly criticize it?” Where have you been? People shoot off their mouths about all sorts of stuff about which they know little or nothing. The internet just makes it easier. A lady-friend just bought your randy writer a t-shirt this past weekend that sums up the problem: “People who think they know everything annoy those of us who really do.”)
As anyone not hiding from Islamic terrorists knows, the office of the French weekly humor magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked recently for its comedic cut-ups of the Islamic faith. In response the publication defiantly pictured the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign reading, “Je Suis Charlie.” Sources such as Time confirmed that the issue not only sold out but it also ignited a worldwide uproar from some groups.
So why does Charlie Hebdo attack religion and stir up all the controversy? If Charlie Hebdo was a US publication we would simply say they attack religion because it is there right. It’s freedom of speech and freedom of the press and so forth. Besides, here in the US, nothing is sacred and many publications, TV shows and movies mock everything.
While the US has no monopoly on these rights surely there must be some other reason why Charlie Hebdo continues with its attack on religion beyond the simple “because they can.” There must be some reason why this is a major focus for the French fryer of faiths.
The editor of Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard, recently discussed this question in a TV interview that first aired this past Sunday. He explained why– especially after this month’s terrorist attacks– the satirical publication’s call to depict the Prophet Muhammad on its cover.
One reason, of course, is it’s practically a tradition and apparently it also a good move in terms of getting worldwide publicity. As Jack Linshi from Time confirms: “Charlie Hebdo has had a history of controversy with its mocking of several religions, particularly Islam.”
In a recent interview Biard explained:
“Every time we draw a cartoon of a prophet, every time we draw a cartoon of God, we defend the freedom of religion. We declare that God must not be political or public figure. He must be a private figure. Religion should not be a political argument. Secularism allows all believers and non-believers to live in peace and that is what we defend.”
It is not their policy to “attack religion (per se), but we do when it gets involved in politics,” Biard concluded on an edition of NBC‘s Meet the Press.
Why does Charlie Hebdo attack religion? Now you know.
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