00:35 - Source: CNN/BFM
Killed cartoon editor in 2012: 'Disarm them with humor'
CNN  — 

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was attacked on Wednesday had previously drawn the ire of radical Islamists for years before three gunmen stormed the publication’s headquarters shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

And its editorial decisions had even caught the attention of the White House in September 2012, which questioned the magazine’s “judgment” when it decided to publish satirical cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammed. The French government decided to temporarily shutter its embassies and schools in several Muslim countries after the magazine published the cartoons.

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“Obviously, we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory,” then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “But we’ve spoken repeatedly about the importance of upholding the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.”

Carney went on to say that the White House didn’t question the magazine’s right to publish the cartoons, but just “the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”

“Now it has to be said, and I’ll say it again, that no matter how offensive something like this is, it is not in any way justification for violence,” Carney said at the same briefing.

Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy

In recent months, the magazine has published several cartoons mocking ISIS, the militant group spread through Iraq and Syria that has kidnapped and decapitated Westerners – many of them journalists.

Its headquarters were firebombed in 2011, the day it was slated to publish a cover with a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed saying, “100 lashes if you’re not dying of laughter.”

Any depiction of Islam’s prophet is considered blasphemy by many Muslims.

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