Of course, no problem whatsoever!
Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical left-wing magazine that’s been around for some fifty years by now and which relied on heavy-handed satire to drive points across. Meaning that they usually target right-wing idiots, religious extremists and political institutions belonging to every kind. They had come under attack a while ago because they had published some comics making fun of Muslim religious extremists that depicted Mohammed, which said Muslim religious extremists didn’t like because Islam forbids depicting the prophet and so they were committing blasphemy and *disrespecting their religion*, when in truth they were just disrespecting fanatics. What happened on Wednesday is that three terrorists got into the magazine’s building and killed twelve people, among which the director, most of the cartoonists, an editor, a psychologist who collaborated with the magazine, an economist who was there because he financed it and they were having the weekly reunion, the porter, a handyman who was just fixing stuff in the hallway and the two policemen who were there to protect the building as the cartoonists were under threat as they had been targeted long before now. Then two of the terrorists ran out and yesterday there was the fallout - they holed up in a press outside Paris and then were killed after one day in there. A third one (which I think was the third shooter in the massacre?) had killed a policewoman along with his girlfriend on Jan. 8th, then on the 9th he took seventeen hostages in a Jewish supermarket and killed four of them, then there was a blitz and they saved the others and he died as well. The girlfriend is still on the run last I heard of. And now Al Quaeda is saying it was them and they did it because they dared disrespect Islam and all their usual drivel.
The controversy - which shouldn’t even exist, but never mind - is that some people went and looked up the comics/covers of the newspaper and decided that they were racist/offensive/hate speech and so started saying that the attack wasn’t so bad since the cartoonists basically called it upon themselves, that after all if you always target minorities you should expect them to snap back (!) and they proceeded on saying that it was a trash racist islamphobic magazine and to basically imply that the terrorists had a justification to go in there and kill twelve people just because they didn’t agree with them. And then they go like ‘freedom of speech shouldn’t cover hate speech’.
The thing is that they had a very heavy-handed humor that isn’t to every taste, but these people got the interpretation wrong because a) if you don’t know the context aka local French politics you can’t grasp what’s behind the comics, b) those people were left-wing atheists, and they poked fun at actual racists/bigots/extremists, so if you say that they were being racist you’re basically accusing them of being the exact kind of person they loathed, and considering that there haven’t even been funerals it’s incredibly disrespectful as far as I’m concerned - like, sixteen people died for this and half of them didn’t even work for the newspaper in the first place and that’s what people think about? Never mind that people have kept on speaking over actual French people trying to teach them why the magazine was actually hate speech according to them, which was veeeery much uncalled for as far as I’m concerned. That said, I’m going to give some links as well, all posts written by French people explaining the situation.
This gives context on some of the comics that were used as an example of ‘that newspaper promoted hate speech’.
This gives some more context about some of the comics above plus a run-down of the facts.
More context and explanation of the French cultural context
More history of the actual magazine and of its role in the French society, since it is actually quite an institution
More explanation about the magazine
Some more explanation with different kinds of vignettes and links to other sites
This gives legal context about how free speech is regulated in France vs hate speech (because they punish actual hate speech)
About how those cartoons are generally perceived in France and still more context about the magazine’s content
This explains the basic issue with people trying to silence them for having stated their opinion and getting this reaction
Recap post that sums up the situation on the 7th plus gives context
These are all posts by French people who actually read the magazine and knew it so I’d trust them over anyone who’s not French and thinks that the content is offensive regardless according to their standards and not to French standards, which is what is at matter here. All of these should also provide a fairly good explanation of the cultural context and why in France that kind of humor was seen as heavy-handed satire but it wouldn’t qualify as hate speech, also because as stated they targeted everyone from the France president (whoever it was) to the Pope to right wingers to Gerard Depardieu whoever have you. If you want more info after reading this I’m glad to provide. But mostly beware of most posts made by non-French people around who keep on saying that it was some piece of trash magazine that doesn’t deserve support - especially there’s one where they blatantly omit info while commenting the covers which is really completely ridiculous.
Never mind that there’s the problem at hand of terrorists killing a bunch of people in the middle of Paris in 2015. Even if it had been a right wing newspaper or what have you it’s pretty damn fucking worrying, since it means they could do pretty much anything at this point.