The controversial Charlie Hebdo covers depicting Mohammad (left) and their editor making out with the Muslim Prophet or one of his followers (via

Last week, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published an image of Mohammad on its cover saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!” Sadly, some right-wing muslim zealots firebombed the headquarters of the magazine, but don’t think that shut up the publication. No siree, this week the magazine has upped the ante and published a cartoon of the publisher making out with Mohammad under the banner, “Love is stronger than hate.” That’s right, baby. Fuck the fundamentalists. Then again, as Gawker points out, the second version may not be Mohammad himself but simply a follower. In which case, it depicts a French magazine editor frenching a right-wing zealot … hot!

You should watch the Flash animated version on Hebdo‘s site and notice that the editor’s pencil pulsates (or does it get engorged?) … nice detail, guys.

Haven’t heard of Charlie Hebdo before? Well, BBC can provide some context:

Charlie Hebdo is part of a venerable tradition in French journalism going back to the scandal sheets that denounced Marie-Antoinette in the run-up to the French Revolution.

The tradition combines left-wing radicalism with a provocative scurrility that often borders on the obscene.

Sounds awesome.

Here is Al Jazeera’s report about the firebombing:

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

5 replies on “Satirical Magazine French Kisses Mohammad”

  1. Hrag, my dear friend, I share your admiration for the drawing on the right. The droplets of spittle on either man’s cheek and passionate close-eyed facial expressions are priceless. 

    I should nevertheless point out that the cover depicts an editor making out a cartoonist’s depiction of a Muslim–not necessarily a right-wing zealot. Why should we join Charlie Hebdo in blurring the distinction between (1) people who are offended by artists’ renderings of the prophet Muhammad and (2) people who think that the magazines who publish such renderings deserve to be fire-bombed?

    1. I think it’s more specific than that, Reid. Most muslims don’t dress like that, it’s a very specific type he’s targeting and in front of the ruins of the firebombing at that!

      1. The magazine is taking the lighter road here, and I appreciate that, and I hate to take the fun out of a joke by diagramming so assiduously, but it’s hard not to notice the (uniquely French) arrogance and insensitivity Charlie Hebdo shows when turning the light of satire on all Muslims who aren’t fully assimilated, in every way, into French society. 

        When I look at this cartoon, I can’t help but think of the 2003 ban on head covering in French public schools, when Chirac told the country’s Muslim population, quite tactlessly, that “secularism is not negotiable.” You’re right. Most Muslims don’t dress like they do in the cartoon, but most of those who do are not violent extremists. Similarly, while most Muslims I know aren’t offended by drawings of the Prophet, were I to meet one who was, I would be stupid to conclude that he was a radical.

        This is a problem that John Stewart has to deal with all the time: commenting on a tragic issue, in a funny way, but in a way that will nevertheless have an insight and a resonance that goes beyond comedy–all without coming off as smug. Charlie Hebdo has not pulled it off.

        1. I think you’re reading too much into this, Reid. And it’s not about French muslims. If you watched the clip you’d see it was a response to Tunisia, Libya and other North African revolutions and trying to find a lighter side to Islam and sharia. I think you’re projecting into the image based on your own knowledge and then seeing the French part with big letters. Also, it’s unfair to characterize all French society as the same — which you’re doing with “uniquely French.” 

          I completely disagree with you about Hebdo’s success. I think it’s spot on. I challenge you to live in a Muslim-dominated society and not find all this quite funny. You need to lighten up.

  2. we declare it a success because when we saw it we cracked up laughing!  also because we like the idea that love (and perhaps just sex) is stronger than religion, bigotry, hate, and all the lines that divide human persons so unnecessarily! 

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