It was only a matter of time before journalists working for Charlie Hebdo took a stance against censorship and admitted a truth that became evident nearly two years ago: Charlie Hebdo is dead. Having sacrificed itself to the desires of Islamic terrorists, Charlie Hebdo is no longer a symbol of free speech, but has instead become a willing participant in the appeasement of terrorists.
Zineb El Rhazoui, one of Charlie Hebdo’s most prominent journalists, announced that she is leaving the magazine over its refusal to criticize Islamic terror and draw the Prophet Muhammed.
“Charlie Hebdo died on January 7,” said El Rhazoui in an interview with AFP.
El Rhazoui’s departure from the French satirical publication comes just before the two year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in which jihadis stormed the magazine headquarters on January 7, 2015 and killed 12 people. During the attack, the terrorists shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “the Prophet is avenged.”
The magazine’s frequent depictions of Muhammad have made it a constant target over the years, as many have protested Charlie Hebdo’s “disrespect” of Muhammad in the past. In Islam, it is forbidden to depict the Muhammad.
Since the 2015 attack, El Rhazoui has remained under nonstop security protection, followed by armed bodyguards everywhere she goes.
Prior to the attack, Charlie Hebdo was well known for its cartoon depictions of Muhammad, which often criticized elements of Islam. However, following the attack, Charlie Hebdo surrendered to the jihadis, when its editor Laurent Sourisseau said the magazine would no longer draw Muhammad in cartoons.
“We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature,” he said.
According to El Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo has decided to let Islam dictate its message and has gone soft on Islamists since the attack. She argued that its use of self censorship damages its “capacity to carry the torch of irreverence and absolute liberty”.
“Freedom at any cost is what I loved about Charlie Hebdo, where I worked through great adversity,” said El Rhazoui.
El Rhazoui, who has not written for Charlie Hebdo in over a year did not provide a direct reason for why she was leaving. However, she said the magazine is no longer the same since the death of so many of its original staff members.
In an interview with AFP, Charlie Hebdo’s current editor Riss said he was skeptical over how much the public would support the magazine if it continued to depict Muhammad.
“We get the impression that people have become even more intolerant of Charlie. If we did a front cover showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed now, who would defend us?”
Although she is leaving the magazine, El Rhazoui said that Charlie Hebdo will always be a part of her life.
“Of course I will always be Charlie. Je suis Charlie. I will always be the Charlie who carried that spirit, which was alone in pointing out [Islamic extremism].”
One of Charlie Hebdo’s most outspoken journalists said on Friday she is quitting the French satirical magazine because it has gone soft on Islamist extremism.
Zineb El Rhazoui accused the weekly of bowing to Islamist extremists and no longer daring to draw the Prophet Muhammad.
Her parting shot comes on the eve of the second anniversary of the jihadist massacre that almost wiped out the controversial magazine’s staff.
“Charlie Hebdo died on January 7” 2015, the day the gunmen attacked the magazine killing 12 people, El Rhazoui said in a damning interview with AFP.
She said she felt Charlie Hebdo now follows the editorial line the extremists had demanded “before the attack — that Muhammad is no longer depicted.”
El Rhazoui, 35, who is followed everywhere by police bodyguards and is known as the most protected woman in France, also questioned the magazine’s “capacity to carry the torch of irreverence and absolute liberty.”
“Freedom at any cost is what I loved about Charlie Hebdo, where I worked through great adversity,” she added.
El Rhazoui first said in September she would be leaving after the magazine was hit by a series of internal disputes and the departures of cartoonist Luz and columnist Patrick Pelloux.
But she did not spell out the reasons for her exit other than it was “not the same after the loss of so many of the original” line-up.