A court in France has cleared a satirical magazine of insulting Muslims. Philippe Val, the publisher of Charlie Hebdo, has expressed satisfaction at the outcome of a case that began after the weekly printed caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. “We are happy, happy for ourselves and for you, too, because we are going to be able to do our job,” he declared after the hearing. “The law has been applied,” he said, adding that the verdict was good news for France’s secular Muslims and for those who believe in freedom of expression.
The action was brought by the Grand Mosque of Paris and the Union of French Islamic Organisations. Its leader, Lhaj Thami Breze, says the group will pursue its legal battle. “We are going to appeal. We are citizens and we are hurt. Charlie Hebdo has made fun of our Prophet and associated Islam and Muslims with terrorism,” he said.
Throwing out the charges, the court in Paris said the cartoons were covered by freedom of expression laws and did not constitute an attack on Islam in general but on fundamentalists. Charlie Hebdo was one of several European publications to reprint the pictures, which originally appeared in Denmark and sparked protests by Muslims worldwide.