WASHINGTON — A new Charlie Hebdo magazine cover depicting the Prophet Mohammed has been reprinted in a number of U.S.-based media although such major organizations as The New York Times and CNN did not publish the cartoon, but the head of a leading American Islamic group said the reprints offend many Muslims.
In its Monday issue, the French satirical magazine published a cover with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign reading “Je suis Charlie.” Above the illustration the cover’s title read “All is forgiven” in French. Last week, terrorists attacked the magazine’s office in Paris, killing eight of its staff.
Some U.S. publications declined to reprint the provocative cover. The cartoon of Mohammed is perceived as sacrilegious to those practicing Islam, said Executive Director Nihad Awad of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
But publications such as the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and USA Today decided to reprint the cover.
“It’s their decision,” Awad said at a press conference. “If it is to show solidarity with the victims, we are in agreement with them, but for those who are indifferent with offending others they need to recheck their standards.”
“ We move past this by showing respect.”
He said that while most people believe in peaceful co-existence, too often some don’t follow through on respecting other culturesand religions.
“Freedom of expression is not alien to Islam,” Awad said, but it should not cross the line of offending a group of people and portraying them in a negative and incorrect way.
Awad said that when Charlie Hebdo put the characature of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover, not only did it offend Muslims but grouped them together with those who committed the attacks.
“We need to dispel the myth that Muslims are violent, this is a bigoted view—inaccurate and unfair,” Awad said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations applauded the response by the French and other governments to call for unity among the countries. But, Awad said, the problem lies in depictions of Muslims and Islam around the world that divide people.