DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday to condemn the publication of caricatures insulting the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The magazine has a long history of publishing vulgar caricatures mocking Muslims, which critics consider deeply offensive to Muslims. Two French-born al-Qaida extremists attacked the newspaper’s offices in 2015, killing 12 cartoonists, and it has been the target of other attacks over the years. .
The magazine’s latest issue features the winners of a recent caricature contest, in which participants were asked to draw the most offensive caricatures of Khamenei, the man who held the highest office in the world. Iran since 1989. The contest was advertised as a show of support for the anti-government protests that are rocking Iran.
One of the finalists depicted a cleric in a turban reaching for the hangman’s noose as he was covered in blood, while another showed Khamenei clinging to a giant throne. giant above the raised fists of the protesters. Others described the scenes as more erotic and vulgar.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian vowed a “drastic and effective response” to the publication of the caricatures that he said offended Iran’s religious and political authorities.
The French government, while defending freedom of expression, has reprimanded the privately owned magazine in the past for fueling tensions.
Iran has been gripped by nationwide protests for nearly four months following the mid-September death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained by Iran’s ethics police for allegedly violating regulations. the country’s strict Muslim dress code.
Women have been at the forefront of the protests, with many removing the mandatory Muslim headscarf in public. Protesters have called for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics in one of the biggest challenges to their rule since the 1979 Islamic Revolution brought them to power.
Charlie Hebdo, published similarly derogatory cartoons about dead migrant children, virus victims, neo-Nazis, popes, Jewish leaders, and characters from other publics, presenting themselves as advocates of democracy and free speech. But it often pushes the limits of France’s hate speech laws with erotic caricatures that often target almost anyone.
The newspaper was criticized for reprinting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam that were first published by a Danish magazine in 2005. Those caricatures were considered blasphemous and deeply hurt Muslims around the world, yet many of them still condemn the violent reaction to the drawings.