Editor Gérard Biard, on holiday with his wife in Norway, dismisses the rumor that the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo will stop caricaturing the prophet Mohammed.
- But we can not be the only one, he says.
Earlier this summer, the news that the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, who suffered a bloody terrorist attack on January 7 this year, would no longer draw the Muslim prophet, received a lot of attention globally.
In an interview with the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Gérard Biard rejects that the magazine has drawn Muhammad for the last time. He believes the news, originating from the German magazine Stern, is based on linguistic misunderstandings.
- What he (Laurent Sourisseau) meant to say was that we should not be the only one who draw the Prophet Muhammad, says Biard.
"Everybody" wanted to protect freedom of speech after masked terrorists shot and killed employees of the magazine because the magazine had published several caricatures of the Prophet.
World leaders traveled to Paris to show their outrage over the attack, and thousands of people changed their profile picture on Facebook to "Je suis Charlie," which means "I am Charlie."
But according to Biard the effect was short-lived. Asked about if the freedom of speech now has better conditions, he replied no.
- The attacks led to strong reactions, but it did not last. After a few weeks it was back to the way it was before, he said.
"The way it was before", according to him, is a society marked by fear. Fear that drawings and criticism of Islam's prophet will lead to violence and terror. Biard compare terrorists to the mafia.
While the mafia uses violence to extort people for money, Islamists use terrorism and violence to push people into silence.
- It is natural to be afraid. But it's the wrong answer. These people are using violence to get their ideals through. If you say, "OK, you're right," then acts of violence work, and they are not going to stop.
- Do you mean terrorists today are succeeding in scaring people from expressing themselves?
- Yes. If one accepts violence, then it is the end. We can not live in a democracy with violence. We must be debating, exchanging views.
After the attacks against the French magazine, the debate on free speech limits also took place in Norway. Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre was met with massive criticism after he told the newspaper DN that it is not important to stand up for the right to exercise blasphemy.
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