The office of Charlie Hebdo, one of France’s leading satirical magazines, has been attacked over its decision to use a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor.
The Paris-based publication was petrol bombed overnight on Tuesday and its offices partially gutted.
A special edition due out on Wednesday was dedicated to Sharia law in reference to recent announcements made by Libya’s interim government and Tunisia’s new majority Islamist party.
Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief and lead cartoonist, Charb, blamed the attack on what he called “a group of idiots”.
“It’s a minority who carry out acts of violence like this. In France we can poke fun or talk about anything but if we have to make exceptions for Islam or its consequences, then that would be extremely annoying,” he said.
The magazine’s website also appears to have been hacked by pirates with a message denouncing its publication five years ago of a caricature of the prophet Mohammed.
Similar cartoons printed in a Danish satirical magazine at the time and then in other European countries, sparked a string of sometimes violent protests in a number of Muslim countries.