Unprecedented number of Cyber attacks after Charlie Hebdo cover released
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo recently published an issue which attempts to honor the victims of last week's shootings in Paris. However, instead of backing down, Charlie Hebdo published another image of the Prophet Muhammad – this time on the cover. Now France has been hit by an unprecedented number of cyber attacks.
New magazine issue sparks free speech debate
Charlie Hebdo's new cover shows the prophet crying and holding a sign that says, "I am Charlie," a slogan that has become a symbol for free speech expression. However, many Muslims find offense in the republishing of the cartoons and some have argued that there are limits to what free speech rights should allow.
The New York Times reported that one of Egypt's highest Islamic authorities has warned the cartoon would increase tensions between East and West and possibly instigate further attacks. Anjem Choudary, leader of a radical group banned in the United Kingdom told a British newspaper recently that the depiction of the prophet was "an act of war" that would be punishable by death in a Shariah court.
The news source also mentioned supporters of the satirical French magazine who defended the cover, claiming it was fitting and an adequate tribute to the slain Charlie Hebdo staff. Renald Luzier, the cartoonist who drew the cover, told French newspaper Libération that he did not regret his drawing.
"I have no worries about the cover," said Luzier. "We have confidence in people's intelligence, and we have confidence in humor. The people who did this attack, they have no sense of humor."
Sadly, some who take offense will attack
According to CBS News, France has been hit with an unprecedented number of cyber attacks after the French magazine cover was released. Hackers targeted approximately 19,000 websites. Charlie Hebdo has also repeatedly been threatened for its satirical cartoons. Arnaud Coustilliere, head of cyberdefense for the French military, commented that some of the attacks were carried out by well-known Islamic hacker groups.
"What's new, what's important, is that this is 19,000 sites – that's never been seen before," Coustilliere said, according to CBS News. "This is the first time that a country has been faced with such a large wave [of cyberattacks]".
While the attacks since the killing of 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo have been largely online only, one can only fear what will happen in days or weeks to come.
The public is divided on what's right concerning the cartoons
The New York Times reported that cultural observers praised Charlie Hebdo for maintaining a commitment to Western values of free speech, even when faced with danger. Flemming Rose, the former cultural editor of the a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, said in an interview that her paper decided not to publish the cartoons for fear of being targeted, however, Rose added that it was important for Western newspapers not to surrender to terrorists.
"We aren't republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons because we are afraid," Rose said, according to the news source "But I know well that if you give in to intimidation, it works."
CBS News reported on an opposing view by Pope Francis, who communicated his belief that there were limits to what can be done with freedom of expression. The Pope said that ridiculing someone's faith was not acceptable and gave an example using his friend Alberto Gasparri.
"If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," the Pope said jokingly. "You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others."