"Charlie Hebdo" cartoonists reject Texas attack comparison

05.05.2015

Two "Charlie Hebdo" journalists have rejected any suggestion of similarities between a deadly attack on the French satirical magazine and a failed armed assault on a Mohammed cartoon event in Texas.

Two men toting assault rifles were shot dead Sunday when they attempted to storm a controversial exhibit of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in Garland, a suburb of Dallas.

Some drew parallels between that and the attack in January in Paris when two Islamist gunmen – enraged by caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed – attacked the offices of the magazine, killing 12 people.

"There is absolutely no comparison," Jean-Baptiste Thoret, the magazine's film critic who only avoided the attack because he had been late for work – told Charlie Rose on PBS.

"You have a, as you said, a sort of anti-Islamic movement (in Texas) ... the problem of "Charlie Hebdo" is absolutely not the same," added Thoret, flanked by Gerard Biard, chief editor of the magazine.

"It was just a question of criticising, you know, all the kinds of religions, and not mentioning people in particular. It had nothing to do with that really."

Biard added: "We don't organise contests. We just do our work. We comment on the news. When Mohammed jumps out of the news, we draw Mohammed. But if he didn't, we didn't. We don't ... We fight racism. And we have nothing to do with these people."

The duo also discussed the controversy over the PEN American Center's decision to honour their magazine, with more than 150 writers pulling out of the event saying the publication's cartoons are offensive.

"This award is given for courage, for the principle of freedom of speech," Thoret said. "This award is not an award for the content of 'Charlie Hebdo'."   (AFP)

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