Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier denounced racism in France and criticised the media for coining the term ‘Islamophobia’ in a book finished days before his death.
The cartoonist, known as Charb, was gunned down by Islamic extremists in January in a revenge attack for the magazine’s offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
In his book Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia who Play into Racists’ Hands, completed just two days before he was shot, Charb was eerily prescient about his death.
“The problem is not the Koran or the Bible – sleep-inducing, incoherent and badly written novels – but the faithful who read the Koran or the Bible like you read assembly instructions for Ikea shelves,” he wrote.
Charb lamented the use of the term “Islamophobia” by activists, and wondered why the term ‘Muslimophobia’ or just ‘racism’ was not used to describe the growing chasm in society.
“A lot of those who campaign against Islamophobia don’t actually do it to defend Muslims as individuals, but to defend Prophet Mohammed’s religion.”
“A terrorist is scary, but if you add that he’s an Islamist, everyone wets themselves.”
The late cartoonist, who was killed with several of his Charlie Hebdo colleagues, defended the magazine’s divisive content.
“The suggestion that you can laugh at everything, except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more susceptible that the rest of the population, what is that, if not discrimination?”