16 Apr 2015

Charlie Hebdo editor publishes posthumous book

2:56 pm on 16 April 2015

A book written by the late editor of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Stephane Charbonnier - known as Charb - is set to be published posthumously.

Stephane Charbonnier

Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier Photo: AFP

Published just over three months after Charb's death's, the book, entitled An Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia Who Play into Racists' Hands was finished two days before Charb was killed by Islamic militants in January, publishers say.

It argues that the fight against racism is being replaced by a misguided struggle against "Islamophobia".

"Being afraid of Islam is indubitably idiotic, absurd, and many other things too - but it is not a crime.

"The problem is neither the Koran nor the Bible, both soporific novels, incoherent and poorly written, but the believer who reads the Koran or the Bible as if reading the manual to a set of Ikea shelves," wrote Charb.

Charb and 11 others were killed during a Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting.

Charlie Hebdo cartoonists

(From left) French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Charb and Tignous. Photo: AFP

The attack on the Paris offices of the newspaper was carried out by two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, who were later shot dead by police.

Charb had received numerous death threats following Charlie Hebdo's publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad in 2006. The magazine's offices were firebombed in 2012.

The book, which upholds the right to ridicule religion, blames the media for their cotton-wool treatment of Muslims: "It is because media outlets have decided that the republication of cartoons of Mohammed will without a doubt unleash the fury of Muslims that it has indeed unleashed the fury of some Muslim associations."

It is both a defence of Charlie Hebdo's editorial stance and an attack on the paper's detractors.

"The suggestion that you can laugh at everything, except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more prickly that the rest of the population - what is that, if not discrimination?"

He condemns this position as "white, left-wing bourgeois intellectual paternalism."

Charlie Hebdo, which was launched in 1969, poked fun at conservatives and all religions. It had a small circulation and folded in 1981, but was resurrected in 1992.


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