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May 20, 2015 12:21 pm

Critics of Islam Continue to Face Threats Worldwide

avatar by Steven Emerson

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"All is forgiven." I am Charlie." Cover of the Jan. 14 edition of Charlie Hebdo featuring the Prophet Mohammed. Photo: Twitter.

"All is forgiven. I am Charlie." Cover of the Jan. 14 edition of Charlie Hebdo featuring the Prophet Mohammed. Photo: Twitter.

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo suspended a journalist who received death threats for writing articles critical of Islamist radicalism, according to Le Monde and reported by Daily Mail. In a move that many view as hypocritical, the magazine called columnist Zineb El Rhazoui to a preliminary dismissal hearing.

According to the French-Moroccan writer, Charlie Hebdo‘s management is seeking to punish her for being outspoken about the direction the magazine has taken since the Islamist terrorist attack at the magazine’s office, which killed 12 people.

“I am shocked and appalled that a management that has received so much support after the January attacks could show so little support for one of its employees, who is under pressure like everyone in the team and has faced threats,” Rhazoui told Le Monde.

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Rhazoui and her husband, Moroccan writer Jaouad Benaïssi, were subjected to death threats from Twitter accounts claiming affiliation with the Islamic State. Photos of Benaïssi and his workplace were published along with suggestions on how to kill the couple.

Thousands of people on social media expressed their disapproval of the magazine’s action on social media, including other Charlie Hebdo writers, accusing the magazine of blatant hypocrisy.

“…It is nasty and unfair to call a disciplinary meeting for a member of staff who is still suffering incredibly…It is paradoxical that the magazine receives prizes for freedom of expression while disciplining a journalist whose life is under threat,” writer Patrick Pelloux said.

Furthermore, senior Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renaud Luzier – who drew the front-page cartoon of the prophet Mohammed for the magazine after the terrorist attack – has resigned citing personal reasons. He asserts that his resignation was mainly a result of personal difficulties ensuing after the terrorist attack and the trauma of losing his friends and co-workers. Luzier claims the decision had nothing to do with internal divisions at the magazine following Rhazoui’s suspension.

Meanwhile, a suspected jihadist standing a criminal trial for planning a robbery and possession of firearms is accused of discussing plans to attack Dutch politician Geert Wilders. According to Dutch intelligence, the suspect returned from fighting in Syria’s civil war.

These developments show that people, from writers to politicians, critical of Islamism and radical extremism continue to be threatened with their lives.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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