French magazine bombed for caricature of Islamic prophet Muhammad

France Newspaper Fire

Satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo's editor in chief, Charb, answers reporters in front of the headquarters of the newspaper, that "invited" th

APTOPIX France Newspaper Fire

A police officer stands in front of the headquarters of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad as a guest edit

The cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue, a caricature of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, fueled a bomb attack on its Paris offices Dec. 2, 2011.

The Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly French magazine, have been burnt down in a bomb attack Wednesday after it published an issue named “Charia Hebdo,” with a caricature of the Islamic prophet Muhammad on the cover.

The issue, entitled “Charia” Hebdo (a word play on the Muslim Shariah law), was published in response to the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisian elections with the prophet Muhammad depicted as its “guest editor”.

The magazine’s real editor, Stephane Charbonnier, told radio that the police had called just before 5 AM Wednesday to report a fire of criminal origin. News reports said a Molotov cocktail had been thrown through a window.

“The stocks are burned, smoke is everywhere, the paste-up board is unusable, everything is melted, and there’s no more electricity,” said the editor.

Western publications often cause disputes as images of the prophet Muhammad are forbidden in Islam.

Four years ago, when Charlie Hebdo decided to reproduce the controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten first printed, it was sued for incitement to racism by Muslim organizations, but the editor was acquitted.

French authorities condemned the attack as an assault on the freedom of the press. “Freedom of expression is an inalienable right in our democracy and all attacks on the freedom of the press must be condemned with the greatest firmness,” Prime Minister François Fillon said in a statement.

The special issue was on its way to the newsstands, the editor said, and will appear as scheduled.