Cartoons Did Not Incite Hatred, French Court Rules

March 23, 2007

Author: Angelique Chrisafis

Source: The Guardian,,2040965,00.html

A French court yesterday ruled in favour of a satirical weekly that printed cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, rejecting accusations by Islamic groups that the newspaper incited hatred against Muslims.

The Paris-based Charlie-Hebdo and its director, Philippe Val, had been 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 €22,000 (£14,930).

But the court decided that Charlie-Hebdo showed no intention of insulting the Muslim community with the caricatures, several of which appeared first in a Danish newspaper in 2005, provoking violent protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in which 50 people were killed.

Charlie-Hebdo ran the drawings in February 2006, also featuring an original front page showing Muhammad with his head in his hands, crying and saying: "It's hard to be loved by idiots." The caption was "Muhammad overwhelmed by fundamentalists."