JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hamas said the Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the satirical magazine’s latest cover was part of a plot by the “Zionist lobby.”
“We condemn the latest publication of Charlie Hebdo, which has caricatures offending the Prophet Muhammad,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday, according to reports. “The way the Israeli newspapers have dealt with the issue, with the blessing of the U.S. secretary of state, is clear evidence that there is a plot, directed by the Zionist lobby, targeting Muslims, their culture, and the tolerance toward them by Western countries.”
In the cartoon, Muhammad is holding a sign with the ubiquitous show of support “I am Charlie” and a headline in French reading “All Is Forgiven.”
The issue, which debuted Wednesday with a run of 3 million copies, was the magazine’s first since a terrorist attack on its Paris headquarters killed 12. Its publisher said it will print up to 5 million copies in five languages; the magazine usually prints about 60,000 copies.
The two Islamic extremist brothers who stormed the editorial offices of the newspaper on Jan. 7 said they perpetrated the attack in response to what they deemed offensive cartoons featuring Muhammad. Cherif and Said Kouachi were killed two days later.
Four days after the killings, Hamas said in a statement that it “condemns the attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and insists that the difference of opinions and thoughts cannot justify murder.”