The Vatican newspaper has lashed out against a portrayal of a blood-stained terrorist God on the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s special issue commemorating one year since the terror attack on its Paris office in which 11 people were killed.
The cover illustration on the issue, which went on sale today, shows an angry, bearded God figure splattered with blood and carrying a Kalashnikov rifle over his shoulder. A large caption reads, “One year on: The assassin is still out there.”
The Vatican daily newspaper, Osservatore Romano, said that the cover disrespected all faiths. It criticized the magazine for essentially echoing the justification for crimes committed by religious extremists.
The newspaper accused Charlie Hebdo of “forgetting once more what religious leaders of every faith unceasingly repeat to reject violence in the name of religion – using God to justify hatred is a genuine blasphemy, as Pope Francis has said several times.”
The provocative cover marks a year since two Islamic terrorists burst into the office of the magazine and gunned down 11 people, including eight members of Charlie Hebdo’s staff. The horrific attack was a response to cartoons of the prophet Muhammed which the anti-religious and secularist magazine had published, angering the Muslim community worldwide.
In a statement made a week after the attacks, Pope Francis condemned killing in God’s name but added that religion could not be insulted, saying that there are “limits” to what one should say about other faiths. “You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it,” he warned.