French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is once again in the limelight after it said that it had received death threats for its cartoon of Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan. The weekly has now said that it was pressing charges for the threat.
The cartoon in question shows Ramadan, who has been accused of rape, in an explicit pose and the caption reads: "I am the sixth pillar of Islam." The cover of the weekly reads "Rape: The Defence of Tariq Ramadan," reported AFP. The Oxford professor and conservative Islamic intellectual has been accused of rape by two women, but he has denied the accusations.
Speaking of it, Ramadan has called these allegations a "campaign of lies launched by my adversaries."
Meanwhile, the editor of Charlie Hebdo Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau has said that these threats have become a serious concern. "Sometimes there are peaks when we receive explicit death threats on social media -- this has been the case once again," he told Europe 1 radio. "It's always difficult to know if these are serious threats or not, but as a principle, we take them seriously and press charges. Calls to murder have become commonplace."
The Paris prosecutor's office has now said that it has opened an investigation into these threats.
The threats and hate mails are also being taken seriously as the weekly has already been attacked in the past. On January 7, 2015, terror group Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch has gunned down 12 people and injured 11 others after Charlie Hebdo had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Sourisseau also said that since that attack, the weekly often receives these hate mails and death threats and said that they have "never really stopped" since. However, the magazine refuses to back down and has vowed to be a "punch in the face" against those "who try to stop us thinking," according to Newsweek. "Against those who fear imagination. Against those who don't like us to laugh."
Meanwhile, some others too believe that the cartoon isn't really offensive and is just for fun. Plantu, one of France's most popular cartoonists, said: "It's great this drawing. I don't see what people have against it. He's got a big d*** and says I'm the sixth pillar of Islam. They're just having a bit of fun," reported the Telegraph.
After the Charlie Hebdo attack, there was a worldwide "Je Suis Charlie" (I am Charlie) solidarity campaign that garnered the support of many. Since then, the weekly has published numerous other cartoons, even though they have been called offensive. In August, the weekly also published a cartoon of the Barcelona terror attack in which 14 people were killed. The caption on the cartoon read: "Islam: religion of peace."