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Satire mag prints blank edition

Charlie Hebdo answers critics who accused it of provoking Islamist fanatics, by putting out alternative versions today

SATIRICAL magazine Charlie Hebdo has hit out at its critics by printing two editions – an “irresponsible” one and an (almost blank) “responsible” one.

The weekly, which hit newsstands today, has printed 100,000, up from its usual 75,000, divided between the two versions, each costing the full €2.50.

The “irresponsible” one shows on the front a cartoon of a caveman holding a flaming torch and a pot of oil, entitled “the invention of humour”. It is a jab at commentators including Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius who last week made much use of the phrase “pouring oil on the flames” after Charlie Hebdo published cartoons ridiculing the Islamic prophet Mohammed following violence over the amateur YouTube film The Innocence of Muslims.

Its editor, “Charb”, argued last week that there is never a “right” time for them to satirise Islam – it will either be accused of escalating violence or trying to spark it off. He said he published the cartoons to show he would not be intimidated and to “make criticising Islam and banal as criticising Catholicism”.

If they avoided offence they could hardly say anything, he said – hence the joke version, which includes blank cartoon boxes signed by the usual contributors and “inoffensive” headlines like “The scourge of unemployment” or “Better safe than sorry”.

Other highlights include a centre-spread “debate of the week” entitled “Was it really necessary to show the Queen of England’s breasts?”, with blank columns by philosophers Alain Finkelkraut (for) and André Glucksmann (against), and a (blank) column of “Top money-making tips from Bernard Arnault”.

The “irresponsible” edition includes a joke guide to “hidden” “offensive” messages in last week’s cover (such as revealing that the hairs on the Muslim character’s legs spell “Allah does not exist” in Arabic), an editorial on “The end of Islamist fear” and a cartoon showing Jesus on a crucifix becoming aroused by a priest preaching about (increasingly outrageous) excesses that might be permitted next if gay marriage and adoption are allowed.

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