On the 7th of January, 2015, two gunmen burst into the editorial boardroom of the French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. When their bloody rampage was over, twelve people would be dead and another eleven injured.
Including a separate but coordinated attack upon a Jewish grocery store, a series of attacks over the next two days would leave another seven people dead. In addition, three gunmen were killed.
The groups Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The newspaper had caused controversy and offended many people with its cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed. Many Muslims thought the images were both offensive to their faith and racist, and there were peaceful protests to condemn what they saw as hateful publications. But a minority of Muslims reacted with violent outrage to what they regarded as an act of disrespect that had to be avenged.
After the attack, millions of people posted images on social media or carried placards at demonstrations with the message “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with the murdered journalists and cartoonists at the newspaper.
In perhaps the most controversial case we have tackled, we look at the events that led up to the assassinations, and we consider the broader impact on press freedom and Western relations with the Muslim world.
Attribution for music used in this episode:
Assassinations Podcast Theme Music (Intro, Outro, and Transitions) written and performed by Graeme Ronald