LONDON: The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published a special issue on Wednesday mocking Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in support of anti-government protests in Iran.
The edition entitled “January 7commemorates the anniversary of the 2015 terrorist attack on its Paris offices.
“The freedom to which every human being aspires is incompatible with the archaism of religious thought and submission to any allegedly spiritual authority of which Ali Khamenei is the most heartbreaking example,” the editorial staff said.
After months of protests and repression in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, the magazine launched an international contest on December 8 under the title, “Free the mullahs“.
Candidates were asked to realiser caricatures of Khamenei, as a “symbol of a backward, narrow-minded and intolerant religious power”, soeD to that the drawing be as “funniest and naughtiest” as possible.
“Draughtsmen and caricaturists must support the struggle of Iranians who are fighting for their freedom, by ridiculing this religious leader from another age, and sending him back to the dustbin of history”, indicatede Charlie Hebdo on its web page.
The French newspaper The world published an article on Tuesday with one of the cartoons, in preciting that the newspaper had been authorized to see 35 drawings chosen from the 300 sent to the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdoincluding from Iran, Turkey, the United States, Senegal and Australia.
The director of Charlie HebdoLaurent “Riss” Sourisseau, claimed that the Iranian protest movement was of global significance, and that the magazine had “wanted cartoons from around the world so as not to become locked into Franco-centric thinking” in order to reflect ” visual diversity of the opposition”.
In a tweet, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amirabdollahian, made himself threatening. “The insulting and indecent act of a French newspaper publishing caricatures against religious and political authority will not remain without a reeffective and decisive response. We will not allow the French government to go beyond its limits. They definitely chose the wrong side,” he said.
Since the current wave of protests began in mid-September, Charlie Hebdo has targeted Khamenei on various occasions, in a cartoon depicting him with bloody hands and wearing a turban and an outfit showing the logo of clothing manufacturer Nike and its motto, Just Do It.
The cartoon had aroused the indignation of the Iranian authorities, prompting the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon the French Chargé d’Affaires to Tehran.
Charlie Hebdowho has been at the center of much controversy for his cartoons, was the target of terrorist attacks in 2011 and 2015 (when 12 people were killed) as well as in 2020, all suspected of being linked to the publication by the magazine of images depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com