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Chechen newspaper publishes caricature of French weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Source: Meduza

On Tuesday, November 3, the Chechen newspaper Vesti Respubliki posted two caricatures of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo on its Instagram account. The newspaper’s publication takes place in the context of the Chechen leadership’s ongoing spat with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Update: Vesti Respubliki’s post containing the caricatures is no longer available on its Instagram account. According to Grozny Inform, the post was removed by Instagram’s moderators. “The reason for the content’s removal was not explained, but in place of the post a message appeared [that said] ‘content (publication) removed for the following violation: violence or dangerous organizations’,” the news agency reported.

“Our newspaper has decided to provide a decent answer to Western pseudo-journalists and show what a visual satire carried out by self-respecting media professionals ought to look like,” Vesti Respubliki wrote on Instagram.

A screenshot of the “Charlie Hebdo” caricatures posted on Instagram

Vesti Respubliki’s editors referred to Charlie Hebdo’s decision to publish caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad as “freedom of permissiveness, not freedom of speech.” 

In mid-October, a history teacher was murdered in France after showing caricatures of Muhammad during a lecture on freedom of speech. The French authorities reported that 18-year-old Chechen Abdullah Anzorov was responsible for the killing (he was shot dead during an attempted arrest).

French President Emmanuel Macron described the murder as a “typical Islamist terrorist attack.” He also said that as president, he would protect the right “to speak, to draw, to write, and to think.”

These remarks sparked protests against Macron in a number of Muslim countries. There were several protests opposing Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures in Russia, as well. During one rally outside of the French Embassy in Moscow, protesters burned a photo of Macron. Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov also called the French president a “terrorist” over his statements about the murdered teacher.

In 2015, 12 people were killed during an attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office that came in response to its publication of caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In September 2020, the magazine republished these cartoons in connection with the beginning of the trial for the terrorist attack. After the publication, an 18-year-old from Pakistan stabbed two people near the former Charlie Hebdo office, claiming that he wanted to take revenge for the caricatures. Apparently he was unaware that the magazine had moved.

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