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The comic of the life of the Prophet was written by French people, Muslim and non-Muslim, for French people, Muslim and non-Muslim.
We (including you and me, afew) live in a society in which a large number of people, French by birth, are of Muslim heritage, whether actively Muslim or not. They are friends, neighbours, colleagues, part of the fabric of society (probably a bit thin on the ground out your way). Islam is not a foreign religion in France. And it is the religion of an underprivileged minority with which CH has always manifested solidarity, to the extent that I'm quite sure that, in their own heads at least, CH do not see themselves satirising Islam from the outside, but as an aspect of a society in which they (and we) are fully part.
I was pretty ambivalent when Charlie Hebdo reprinted the Jyllands Posten drawings (however I have approved of CH's own drawings of Mahomet published on that occasion, and since). That was certainly an edgy editorial decision; and I think the editor, Charb, is right in saying that they put the cart before the horse (there is an element of implicit self-criticism in that).
But, again, I really don't much evidence of geopolitics in any of the editorial decisions of CH. To the extent that they are concerned with reactions outside France, it is with French-speaking North Africa. They have been fervent supporters of the Arab Spring, and highly critical of the rise of political Islam, in Tunisia in particular. Those who organised anti-CH demonstrations are of the Salafist tendency, i.e. the extreme right of the political spectrum of the Arab world (I hope nobody is shocked by that characterisation!)
CH in a fight with the extreme right : it's hardly a novelty.
The impact within France deserves more consideration. Later.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
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