Speed Reads

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo stirred controversy — and violent reactions — long before shooting attack

Wednesday's attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo was not the first time the magazine confronted a violent reaction to its particular brand of unabashedly controversial satire.

In 2011, the publication's Paris offices were firebombed in response to a cover portraying the prophet Muhammad as "editor" of a "Charia Hebdo," a pun on the magazine's title that referenced Sharia law. But that was hardly the only time Charlie Hebdo took on the subjects of terrorism and Islamic extremism, as a survey of other covers shows:

In response to yet another firestorm in 2012 over the publication of cartoons mocking Muhammad, then-editor Stephane Charbonnier was defiant: "When we attack the Catholic hard right...nobody talks about it in the papers. It's as if Charlie Hebdo has official authorisation to attack the Catholic hard right. But we are not allowed to make fun of Muslim hardliners. It's the new rule...but we will not obey it."