The cover. Educational or provocation?
Photo: EPA
French satirical magazine prints Muhammad comics
Charlie Hebdo shrugs off threats, publishes new comic book biography of Islam's founder
A French satirical magazine, whose offices were fire-bombed after it published cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad, published on Wednesday a comic book biography of Islam's founder.


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The editor of Charlie Hebdo weekly has insisted that the new book, titled "The Life of Muhammad", was a properly researched and educational work prepared by a Franco-Tunisian sociologist.


"It is a biography authorized by Islam since it was edited by Muslims," said Stephane Charbonnier, who was also the illustrator of the book whose front page shows the prophet leading a camel through the desert.


"I don't think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate," he said last week.


What will the Arab world say? The new book (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
What will the Arab world say? The new book (Photo: EPA)

In stores now. Muhammad biography (Photo: EPA) (Photo: EPA)
In stores now. Muhammad biography (Photo: EPA)

Charbonnier said the idea for the comic book came to him in 2006 when a newspaper in Denmark published cartoons of Muhammad, later republished by Charlie Hebdo, drawing angry protests across the Muslim world.


"Before having a laugh about a character, it's better to know him. As much as we know about the life of Jesus, we know nothing about Muhammad," he said.

Charbonnier. Got the idea from Danish magazine (Photo: MCT) (Photo: MCT)
Charbonnier. Got the idea from Danish magazine (Photo: MCT)


Satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has on several occasions published cartoon versions of Islam's prophet in a declared effort to defend free speech, to the fury of many Muslims who believe depicting Muhammad is sacrilegious.


In September Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Muhammad as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film made in the United States that insults the prophet.


In 2011 Charlie Hebdo's offices were hit by a firebomb and its website pirated after publishing an edition titled "Charia Hebdo" featuring several Muhammad cartoons.


Charbonnier, who has received death threats, lives under police protection.



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