French Presidential candidate Francois Bayrou will appear in court today in defence of a newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. A union of Islamic groups is suing Charlie Hebdo for defamation. The case is seen as a litmus test of the boundaries of free speech and religious tolerance in the country. The paper’s editor has told the court the sketches parodied terrorists in general and not Islam specifically. But Muslims regard all images of the Prophet as blasphemous.
Prosecution lawyer Francis Szpiner said:
“All French Islam is doing is demanding application of the law of the Republic. How can it be scandalous for a person feeling offended to go to a judge and say “I think the law has been violated”.