Offices of satirical magazine firebombed after Prophet Mohammed joke

Politicians and Muslim leaders have denounced a firebomb attack that destroyed the offices of a satirical French newspaper after it “invited” the Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor.

No-one was injured in the fire at Charlie Hebdo weekly in eastern Paris, hours before the current issue hit the news-stands.

“Everything will be done to find those behind this attack,” said Interior Minister Claude Gueant.

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Dalil Boubakeur, who heads the Great Mosque of Paris, condemned “an act which can in no way represent the principles of liberty, tolerance and peace that are (our) message.”

But he regretted the “anxious European climate of Islamophobia” fed in part by stigmat- ising Muslims through caricatures.

One witness saw someone throwing two firebombs at the building and the newspaper’s director, who goes by the name Charb, said a Molotov cocktail was the cause of the fire. He blamed “radical stupid people...I think that they are themselves unbelievers... idiots who betray their own religion”.

The front-page of the weekly, subtitled “Sharia Hebdo,” a reference to Islamic law, showed a cartoon-like man with a turban, white robe and beard smiling broadly and saying, in an accompanying bubble, “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”