A firebomb attack gutted the headquarters of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday after it put an image of the Prophet Mohammad on its cover. This week’s edition shows a cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” It has the headline “Charia Hebdo,” in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and says Mohammad guest-edited the issue.
Charlie Hebdo’s website on Wednesday appeared to have been hacked and briefly showed images of a mosque with the message “no God but Allah,” after which the site was blanked. Many Muslims object to any representation of Allah or Mohammad, or to irreverent treatment of the Koran, and such incidents have inflamed protests in the past, sometimes violent.
Danish cartoons of Mohammad in 2005 sparked unrest in the Muslim world in which at least 50 people were killed. An American pastor’s burning of a copy of the Koran led to protests in Afghanistan in April in which several died.
Police said nobody was injured in the fire that broke out at about 1 a.m. (midnight GMT) in the office building that houses Charlie Hebdo. Windows were broken on the ground floor and first floor and fire damage was visible inside. The Paris prosecutor’s office told Reuters that two molotov cocktails had been thrown into the magazine’s offices.