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French Paper Cleared In Latest Cartoons Case

From a deeply saddened Associated Press:

Paper cleared in Muhammad drawings case

PARIS – A French court cleared a satirical weekly newspaper Thursday in a case brought by Muslims who were angered by its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The newspaper Charlie-Hebdo and its director, Philippe Val, were accused of “publicly abusing a group of people because of their religion.” Val had risked a six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to $29,250.

The trial last month drew nationwide attention in a country with Europe’s largest Muslim community and a strong commitment to freedom of expression and secularism.

Val said the ruling was a victory for secular French Muslims.

“This debate was necessary,” he said.

Lhaj Thami Breze of the fundamentalist Union of Islamic Organizations of France, one of the groups that brought the suit, said he would appeal the decision. Francis Szpiner, a lawyer for the conservative Mosque of Paris, the other group behind the suit, said it was not likely to appeal…

On Feb. 8, 2006, the paper printed three caricatures — two of them reprints of those carried by a Danish newspaper in 2005 that stoked anger across the Islamic world. One caricature was an original.

In September, a Danish court rejected a lawsuit against the newspaper that first printed the cartoons — a verdict some Arab politicians and intellectuals warned would widen a cultural gap.

So far I haven’t seen the original caricature published. I suspect it was about as “offensive” as the others.

As we have oft noted, the irony in all of this is that the Muslims are trying to deify Muhammad. While the proscription against making images of him was to curtail that very thing.

But there is no reasoning with some people.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, March 22nd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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