Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Postens editor who published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, spoke about the Charlie Hebdo attack on Wednesday. What follows was translated by Jacob Wheeler, a Michigan-based journalist who was born in Denmark.
"It sends a shiver down my spine. Thinking about the people in Paris, what they're experiencing now. In addition to shock, I'm not surprised. If you look at what's happened in Europe over the past 10 years, since Jyllands-Postens Muhammad cartoons were published, time after time there have been threats and even violence. In 2004 the Dutch film instructor Theo van Gogh was killed in the street in Amsterdam. Here at Jyllands-Posten we live in fear. There have been numerous episodes that deal with how the handling of Islam and violence. But Charlie has insisted on their right to make satire, and now they've paid the highest price for that."
"Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine dominated by cartoons. They live off cartoons. Politically speaking they're on the center-left. Much of their criticism has been directed against the Catholic church. Since Islam became an issue in Europe, they've received threats … 2011, and 2012. They published satirical cartoons in 2012 following the attack on the American embassy in Libya. They are a satirical magazine that's used to "shooting in all directions" (Danish expression) and particularly against religion."
Rose was asked about parallels between Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten.
"The direct parallel is that in 2006, three Islamic organizations accused Charlie Hebdo of re-publishing two of Jyllands-Posten's Muhammad cartoons. Since then they've also published their own cartoons. I testified in a court case in 2007 in Paris where they were acquitted. What's interesting is that Jyllands-Posten is a conservative newspaper whereas Charlie Hebdo is oriented to the left. Some would call them socialist. But this is all about a liberal democracy's right to freedom of the press and freedom of speech. And it doesn't matter if you're liberal or conservative. In this case, Jyllands-Posten and Charlie Hebdo stood for the same principles and have for many years."