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Paris priest says mocking isn't helpful on Charlie Hebdo attacks anniversary

Thu 07 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

One year on since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, a Catholic priest has told Premier that the country is trying to strike the right balance between free speech and respect for religion.

On 7th January 2015 11 people were shot dead inside the satirical magazine's office, while a police officer was also killed outside.

A further five people lost their lives in co-ordinated attacks during a siege at a Jewish supermarket.

Charlie Hebdo had put a derogatory cartoon of Mohammad on its front cover when the attacks happened. A year on, they pictured God as a terrorist on their front cover.

Fr Aidan Troy, from St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Paris, told Premier that after the attacks people expected the magazine to tone down its illustrations: "I think a lot of people would have hoped there would have been a balance brought in.

"There's been a very interesting reaction from the Vatican, it's saying that everyone has the right and freedom to express - but mocking God as on the front cover with a Kalashnikov on his back, doesn't do any favours to anybody.

"Nobody's saying that we should have censorship and cover it over, but on the other hand, when you think of the sincere efforts of all religions and of none to say 'the killing must stop', I'm not sure it's very helpful to mock and mock and mock."

Fr Aidan Troy continued: "We need an awful lot of courage, but we also need an awful lot of prayer, and I really mean that, to try and make sure that we keep alert and we ask God's protection."

He said that all religions are sometimes guilty of taking themselves too seriously: "We often think of the tears of God but I think also that the laughter of God is something also we have to portray."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Fr Aidan Troy here:

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