They were men who stood up for free speech in the face of barbaric threats from extremists. And in the end, their principled stance cost them their lives.Two masked men brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the magazine's headquarters on Wednesday morning, opening fire on staff, and shooting them dead.Among the slain was Stephane Charbonnier, the defiant editor whose satirical newspaper dared to poke fun at everything from religion to feminism.Despite all the controversy, Mr Cabut was insistent that art should not be constrained. Perhaps his most famous quote was: ‘Sometimes laughter can hurt – but laughter, humour and mockery are our only weapons.’
In a statement yesterday, Mr Rushdie said: 'Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms.'This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.'I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.‘"Respect for religion" has become a code phrase meaning "fear of religion." Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.'Last February, Iranian clergy revived Salman Rushdie's death fatwa, 25 years after it was issued over his 'blasphemous' Satanic Verses.He said Islamaphobic literature and films would not have been made if it weren't for the Satanic Verses.'Surely if the sentence of the Imam had been carried out, the later insults in the form of caricatures, articles and the making of movies would not have occurred,' he said in a statement last February.'I am adding another $500,000 to the reward for killing Salman Rushdie and anyone who carries out this sentence will receive the whole amount immediately.'
'Religion deserves our fearless disrespect': Salman Rushdie condemns Charlie Hebdo attack as a sign of the 'deadly mutation in the heart of Islam'