Sunday, September 24, 2006

Charlie Hebdo Goes To Court

This article arrived by e-mail on September 22 from Via-Resistancia, a Google group, giving AP as the source, but no direct link.

On February 7 and 8 of next year, the criminal court of Paris will begin examining the charges brought by the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations of France) against the weekly Charlie Hebdo, that published the Mohammed cartoons last February.

The 17th Criminal Court, in a departure from the norm, will be presided over by Jean-Claude Magendie, a judge of the common pleas court, and will rule on the accusations of "public offenses towards a group of persons because of their religion."

The editor-in-chief, Philippe Val and Rotatives Publications are being sued for 30,000 euros in damages by UOIF for moral injuries. The World Islamic League has announced it too will demand damages and compensation during the hearing.

It isn't clear to me if the World Islamic League is joining in with the plaintiffs, or participating in the actual prosecution as legal counsel.

The UOIF feels that the edition in question (of Charlie Hebdo) constitutes a "deliberate act of aggression aiming to hurt people of the Muslim religion in their collective attachment to their faith."

The three cartoons at issue are the one called "Une" and two others that appeared initially in the September 30, 2005 edition of the Danish daily, Jyllands Posten. The publication of twelve cartoons of the prophet had unleashed a wave of violent protest in Muslim countries.

The drawing called "Une" bears the headline "Mohammed overwhelmed by fanatics", and shows the prophet sighing: "It's tough being loved by idiots." The second one shows the prophet wearing a turban with a bomb coming out of it, and the third shows Mohammed on a cloud welcoming terrorists.

A reminder that Galliawatch posted this article on Philippe Val's courage in refusing to submit to the intellectual terrorism that reigns supreme (almost) in the French press.

It will be of great interest to follow these court proceedings next February. At that point, the French election will be only 3 months away, and fallout from the trial could have an impact. The freedom of the press to use satire is the basic issue, but the degree of dhimmitude of the courts is the real concern.

I'm sure everyone who uses the Internet has seen the Zombietime website with its infinite variety of Mohammed cartoons and drawings through the ages. Just in case you're a newcomer to the net, click here and enjoy.


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