Politics & Government

White House had questioned French newspaper’s judgment in publishing offensive cartoon

People hold up tributes to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting on Jan. 7, 2015 during a 1-minute silence in Bordeaux, France, in remembrance of those killed and wounded in the deadly attack in Paris,
People hold up tributes to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting on Jan. 7, 2015 during a 1-minute silence in Bordeaux, France, in remembrance of those killed and wounded in the deadly attack in Paris, TNS

More than two years ago, the White House had questioned the judgment of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo publishing cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Muhammad.

“Obviously, we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Sept. 19, 2012 at his daily briefing. “We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory. But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.

“In other words, we don’t question the right of something like this to be published; we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”

On Wednesday, that newspaper was the subject of a terrorist attack in Paris that left 12 people dead.

The newspaper had been threatened in the past over its decision to publish caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Its offices were firebombed in 2011. And in 2012, the French government had decided to temporarily close their embassies and schools in several Muslim countries after the newspaper published the cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

“Now, it has to be said, and I’ll say it again, that no matter how offensive something like this is, it is not in any way justification for violence -- not in any way justification for violence,” Carney said.

Before the shooting Wednesday, the paper tweeted a cartoon mocking the leader of the Islamic State, which has threatened to attack nations which joined the U.S. led coalition against the terrorist organization.

  Comments