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Charlie Hebdo does not 'respect' believers, says Vatican

Wed 06 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

The Vatican has criticised the cover of the latest addition of Charlie Hebdo, which marks the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine. 

A drawing representing God is shown holding a gun and portrayed as a terrorist with the tag line "one year on, the assassin still runs free."

On 7th January 2015 armed attackers forced their way into the offices of the weekly newspaper in Paris and killed 11 people, as well as an officer outside the building.

Eight of those killed were Charlie Hebdo staff.

Over the following two days a further five people were killed in co-ordinated attacks, four of them during a siege at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack Pope Francis warned that insulting religion would never be taken lightly and added that: "to kill in the name of God is an absurdity."

However he did defend freedom of expression, but said dignity must be respected: "If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched, and that's normal.

"You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people's faith, you cannot mock it."

The Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, has said that this sort of treatment towards religion "is not new" and emphasised that religious leaders repeatedly condemn violence in the name of God.

It said: "Behind the deceptive flag of uncompromising secularism, the weekly is forgetting once more what religious leaders of every faith unceasingly repeat to reject violence in the name of religion - using God to justify hatred is a genuine blasphemy, as pope Francis has said several times."

Commentary added that: "In Charlie Hebdo's choice, there is the sad paradox of a world which is more and more sensitive about being politically correct, almost to the point of ridicule, yet does not wish to acknowledge or to respect believers' faith in God, regardless of the religion."

A number of Charlie Hebdo staff have been under police protection following its publication of a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad in 2006.

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