Charlie Hebdo Website Hacked after Cartoons Insulting Islamist Iranian Regime

LILLE, FRANCE - JANUARY 05: The front page of "Charlie Hebdo" reading "Mollahs go back from where you come" is seen in a newsstand. The weekly had published dozens of cartoons on the same day ridiculing the highest religious and political figure in the Islamic republic. The magazine said the …
Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

The website for the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was reportedly hacked in the wake of publishing lewd cartoons mocking the Islamist regime in Iran.

Almost exactly eight years to the day after the Islamist terror attack that claimed the lives of twelve Charlie Hebdo employees, the French magazine allegedly suffered a cyber attack after it released more cartoons mocking Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamist regime in Tehran’s treatment of women.

The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the hack of the website on Thursday, telling the AFP: “An investigation was opened today of managers of fraudulent access to an automated data processing system.”

The investigation will also look into fraudulent maintenance, fraudulent data modification, fraudulent data extraction, and the obstruction of operating the site, the prosecutor’s office added.

Speaking to the news agency, a source close to the case also said that there was an “attack on the commercial website and a disfigurement of the home page”.

However, there has yet to be anyone to come forward to claim responsibility or to make demands.

The hack raises the prospect of violence befalling the magazine’s readership, as the data theft may have included personal details of “several thousand subscribers” to the website.

The satirical magazine has become an infamous touchstone in the battle between the Western principle of freedom of speech and backlash from the Islamic world, which has reacted with fury over allegedly blasphemous cartoons, including caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

On January 7th, 2015,  gunmen“dressed in black balaclavas and carrying Kalashnikov automatic weapons” breached the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, ultimately murdering 12 people in response to the depiction of the Islamic prophet.

Violence surrounding the caricatures has continued, with a Chechen refugee beheading French teacher Samuel Paty last year after he had shown his class images from the magazine during a lesson on freedom of expression.

In March of this year, a teacher in England was suspended after showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his class. The teacher was later forced into hiding after a local Muslim group outed his identity online.

On Wednesday, Charlie Hebdo published another series of cartoons, including one in which a group of miniature Ayatollah Khameneis were pictured walking into a vagina, in an apparent reference to the women’s rights protests which have erupted in the country.

In response to the publication, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned of retaliation from the Islamic Republic, saying: “The insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against religious and political authority will not go without an effective and firm response.”

The minister went on say that the French government, by allowing such material to be published, has “chosen the wrong path” and that the Iranian government will ensure that France does not “overstep its mark”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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