The offices of a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, were firebombed yesterday. The magazine also had its website hacked with a threatening message splashed across its homepage.
What did the magazine editors do to earn a Molotov cocktail through their office windows and threatening messages via their webpage, Facebook and Twitter?
It appears the attack was the result of the editors announcing that they were going to print a special edition of the magazine with Muhammad as the guest editor-in-chief (in honor of the Arab Spring).
"To fittingly celebrate the victory of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia ... Charlie Hebdo has asked Muhammad to be the special editor-in-chief of its next issue," the magazine announced earlier according BBC.
"The prophet of Islam didn't have to be asked twice and we thank him for it," the statement added.
And they weren't just going to use Muhammad's name; they were planning for all out satire.
They announced that they would change the name for the special edition from Charlie Hebdo to Charia [Sharia] Hebdo, the magazine would feature a column by the guest editor entitled "Halal Aperitif," and they were going to include a women's supplement called "Madam Sharia."
The cover of the issue was even going to feature a picture of Muhammad with a caption bubble around his head saying, “100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter."
"We don't feel like causing further provocation. We simply feel like doing our job as usual. The only difference this week is that Muhammad is on the cover and it's pretty rare to put him on the cover," said Charb, the magazine's real editor-in chief.
Apparently, some people didn't think it was funny.
“Yesterday, around 1am, the magazine's Paris offices were attacked with a Molotov cocktail. While the fire was put out quickly, the editor-in-chief of the paper, known as 'Charb', has said that the magazine cannot possibly put out a paper this week due to the damage,” writes Business Insider.
"Everything was destroyed," Patrick Pelloux, a witness at the scene, told AFP.
The magazine's website was also hacked and this message was left for the staff: "You keep abusing Islam's almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be God's curse upon you!"
That wasn't the only threatening message they received.
Although the severity of the attack is not that surprising (recall the violence that broke out after the publication of the Danish cartoons), it's the swiftness of action that's truly remarkable.
The BBC only announced yesterday (Nov. 1) that Charlie Hebdo would be cracking wise about Muhammad and sharia law. It was at about 1 AM the next morning when the firebombing took place. They didn't waste any time making sure the magazine wouldn't release the Muhammad issue.
The editors of Charlie Hebdo, no matter how non-provocative they claim they were trying to be, must have known something like this was going to happen.
(h/t Business Insider)