The Latest 'Charlie Hebdo' Cover Is Ruffling Feathers in High Places
One year after French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo became the target of a January 2015 al-Qaida-linked attack that killed 11, the publication is showing that it cannot be silenced. But neither can its critics.
To mark the anniversary of the attack, the paper printed a cover reading "The assassin is still out there" in French. The caption accompanies a caricature of a familiar but blood-splattered omnipotent deity fleeing with an assault rifle strapped to his back.
But not everyone is amused with the reference to both organized religion's role in the attack and the flip, more general point about an uncaring God.
The official newspaper of the Vatican, L'Osservatore Romano, ran an editorial trashing Charlie Hebdo's choice of cover this week, according to CNN.
"This episode isn't something new because, behind the deceitful flag of an uncompromising secularism, the French magazine once again forgets what religious leaders of different beliefs have been repeating for a long time to reject violence in the name of religion," writes the paper, which cited the pontiff directly to make its point.
"Using God to justify hatred is an authentic blasphemy, as Pope Francis repeatedly said."
"It is a caricature representing the symbolic figure of God," Charlie Hebdo editor Laurent Sourisseau shot back in a CNN interview. "To us, it's the very idea of God that may have killed our friends a year ago ... Maybe we should learn to live with a little less of God."
"To us, it's the very idea of God that may have killed our friends a year ago ... Maybe we should learn to live with a little less of God."
In addition to the 11 killed and 11 wounded inside magazine's offices, the attackers slew a French National Police officer responding to the massacre. Related attacks including a hostage situation at a kosher supermarket claimed four more innocent people's lives and resulted in the deaths of three al-Qaida-linked attackers.
In the wake of the slaughter, Pope Francis warned reporters "there are limits" to how much religion can be criticized.
"If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched, and that's normal," the pontiff said. "You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people's faith, you cannot mock it."
Charlie Hebdo also recently weighed in on the second terrorist tragedy to hit Paris in 2015, a gun and bomb massacre on Nov. 13 which killed 130 people.
"They have weapons," reads the cover. "Fuck them, we have champagne!"