The Interview

'Defending the right to blasphemy protects everyone’, says secular writer Fourest

FRANCE 24 talks to former Charlie Hebdo contributor Caroline Fourest about the satirical weekly magazine, which was the target of a deadly terrorist attack on January 7, 2015, launched by those offended by its depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

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Fourest said Charlie Hebdo is not Islamophobic but rather takes aim at all forms of extremism. She described the magazine as a "satirical, atheist newspaper whose aim is to promote debate".

The weekly is known for its humorous covers lampooning political and religious leaders of all stripes, and one of the paper’s biggest targets is often France’s anti-immigrant far-right National Front party.

Those that targeted the magazine were not Muslims, she said, but "fanatics". The paper lost many of its top editorial staff when Islamist militants stormed into an editorial meeting on January 7, 2015, and opened fire, killing 11 people and then claiming a 12th victim, a policeman, as they fled. The attackers later claimed to be acting in the name of Al Qaeda in Yemen.

"Defending the right to blasphemy protects everyone", Fourest said. "It actually protects religious minorities, atheists and free-thinkers from those people who should not be making the rules, namely the fanatics".

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