France is reeling after shooters armed with AK-47s stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical magazine, killing twelve people, among them four of the most revered cartoonists in the country.
Witnesses reportedly heard the men shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad.”
French President Francois Hollande called the Wednesday shooting “undoubtedly a terrorist attack.”
The paper has a long history of publishing irreverent cartoons, many of them mocking religion. The latest incendiary drawing was its Wednesday cover featuring a caricature of Michel Houellebecq, a controversial French author whose newest novel is set in a future France run by Muslims. The cartoon has him saying “In 2022, I will do Ramadan.”
Social media users around the world immediately reacted, posting images in solidarity with the victims, emphasizing the importance of free speech and many variations of the “pen against the sword” trope.
The publication had been attacked before for satirizing Islam. It was firebombed in 2011 after publishing a caricature of Mohammed.
Hundreds of social media users posted images with the caption “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”