A surprising surprise 15

The offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo have been destroyed by a petrol bomb, a day after it named the Prophet Mohammed as its “editor-in-chief” for this week’s issue.

We quote from the report in the Telegraph:

The publication, historically famous for pillorying Catholic clericalism, was criticised by Muslims in 2007 after reprinting the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad that caused outrage around the Islamic world.

It was let off lightly that time with mere criticism. Did the editors think they could get away with expressing themselves freely against Islam again, in Islam-infected France?

If so, for satirists they are strangely naive.

They announced that their next issue was to “fittingly celebrate the victory of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia” by asking Mohammed “to be the special editor-in-chief.”

“The prophet of Islam didn’t have to be asked twice and we thank him for it,” the statement said.

The cover of this week’s issue, out on Wednesday, shows Mohammed saying: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter”.

It also includes an editorial by the Prophet entitled Halal Aperitif and a women’s supplement called Madam Sharia.

Behind the humour, the editorial’s message is serious: “No religion is compatible with democracy from the moment a political party representing it wants to take power in the name of God”.

The Ennahda party pretends it can and will preserve freedom and democracy  – under sharia law. It deserves mockery.

“What would be the point of a religious party taking power if it didn’t apply its ideas,” it goes on. “Hello, we are the Bolchevik party and if you vote for us we promise never to speak of Communism… Come on.”

We are surprised that they were surprised by the firebomb attack.

We are surprised that politicians were shocked (if they really were).

Xavier Bertrand, the labour minister, said he was “deeply shocked” while Jean-François Copé, head of the ruling conservative UMP party said if the fire was linked to this week’s issue, “it serves as a reminder of what kind of acts can be committed by fundamentalists who manipulate religion for political ends”.

But some hastened yet again to exonerate Islam itself – that “vast majority of peace-loving Muslims” we hear so much about but never hear from: –

Jean-Luc Melenchon, presidential candidate for the leftist Front de Gauche party called the attack “repulsive”, and called on the French “to the have the intellectual discipline not to confuse a handful of imbeciles, numbskulls who will severely punished, I hope, with the vast majority of our Muslim compatriots who practice their faith perfectly calmly“.

They sure are letting themselves in for many more shocking surprises!