Last week, the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed after printing a controversial cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad with the headline, "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!" Hebdo's website was also hacked and left with a message reading, "No God but Allah." Now, the satirical publication is back on the attack.
This week's cover depicts an editor of Charlie Hebdo making out with Muhammad under a banner that reads, "Love is stronger than hate." Despite the fact that some have noted that the figure in the heated lip-lock with the Hebdo editor may just be a follower of Muhammad, it is doubtful that this will make much of a difference to critics within the Muslim community.
Though Charlie Hebdo is known to go for more incendiary material compared with their main competitor, Le Canard Enchaine, an outpouring of support for the magazine has come from political parties and citizen groups.
The recent events surrounding Charlie Hebdo have proved to be divisive to say the least. Muslim groups in France have been up in arms over what they perceive to be continued provocation and discrimination by the French media, while the extremist acts have played into the skepticism of Islam held by members of the French far-right community.
Tarik Boudjemaa, a Parisian Muslim, told The New York Times, "In the name of freedom of expression, they always go after the same people."
Despite the opposition that has formed, there are those who occupy a middle ground, including Muslim groups who have condemned the attacks.
The French Muslim Council, an organization that had previously sued Charlie Hebdo over cartoons of Muhammad in 2006, have denounced the attacks. More support has come from smaller liberal organizations with large Muslim constituencies. Sihem Habchi, head of the women's group Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissives) said that the bombing was "a great hurt for the image of Islam."