Iranian religious chief threatens Charlie Hebdo over cartoons

Iranian religious chief threatens Charlie Hebdo over cartoons

The leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has told the editors of French satirical Charlie Hebdo they may face violence like Salman Rushdie after more cartoons were published mocking Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

“Do not play with Muslims, Salman Rushdie insulted the Quran and the holy Prophet of Islam 30 years ago and hid in dangerous places,” Major General Hossein Salami announced, according to the Mehr news agency.

He said “sooner or later” Muslims would take revenge for the “insulting and indecent” depictions of Iran’s religious leader.

Iran has shut down France’s Tehran-based research institute in protest against the cartoons.

Last week Charlie Hebdo published the winning cartoons from a competition that asked for the most offensive possible caricatures of the ayatollah to support Iran’s protest movement.

A diplomatic argument was sparked
with France when Iran made an official warning about the caricatures.

On Sunday, Iranian protesters gathered outside the French embassy in Tehran to protest against the cartoons.

They set fire to French flags and chanted, “France, be ashamed”.

Charlie Hebdo ignored the threats and published a second magazine cover portraying mullahs entering and exiting a naked woman’s womb while her legs are open.

“It took us a week to find the exit,” read the headline. An editorial column described cyberattacks on the website after publication last week, which it blamed on Iran. “Laughing at themselves has never been a strong point of tyrants,” Riss’s column added.

The special edition marked the anniversary of the 2015 attacks on the satirical magazine’s offices that left 12 people dead.

“A digital attack doesn’t leave anyone dead but it sets the tone. The mullah’s regime feels in such danger that it considers it vital to its existence to hack the website of a French newspaper,” the editorial wrote.

“It is an honour in one sense but above all proves that they feel their power is very fragile.”

The leader of the Iranian revolution Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning Rushdie to death over alleged blasphemy and placed a multimillion-dollar bounty on his head after the publication of the Satanic Verses in 1988.

Many Muslims regard the book as blasphemous because of its revisionist history of Islam.

The 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks shocked the world and raised questions about press freedom and religious tolerance in France. Picture credit: Flickr

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