MONTREAL – Canada’s French-language newspapers published a cartoon of Muslim prophet Mohammed on Thursday in solidarity with Paris’s Charlie Hebdo, where Muslim terrorists massacred 12 people the previous day.
The France-based satirical publication originally published the cartoon back in 2006.
It shows a bearded man, clad head-to toe-in black, crying with his head in his hands.
The headline reads: "Mohammed overwhelmed by fundamentalists" with the Muslim prophet saying: "It’s hard being loved by jerks."
The cartoon was reprinted Thursday in all French-language publications owned by Quebecor Media, the parent company of QMI Agency, Sun Media and Sun News Network.
A caption that accompanied the cartoon read: "Attacking someone simply for their ideas and opinions is an unacceptable obstacle to democracy."
Five cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were among the 12 people gunned down during an editorial meeting at their Paris head office.
Many in Quebec had a close relationship with the magazine and its cartoonists. The satirists had inspired generations of Quebec cartoonists, including Yannick Lemay, a.k.a. YGreck, who draws for QMI’s sister newspaper Le Journal de Quebec. He said cartoonists are "pacifists" who he finds to be a "curious target for terrorists."
The killings prompted an outpouring of support, with Montreal protesters taking part in a rally that echoed others in most other major Canadian centres.
Cartoonist around the world react to the Charlie Hebdo attacks
A huge "I Am Charlie" banner hung from city hall’s outdoor balcony Wednesday evening.
Not everyone was mourning the deaths at Charlie Hebdo, however.
Genevieve Lepage, president of the Quebec Muslim association, accused the French paper of fuelling the violence.
"Islam is not a threat," Lepage insisted. "What is a threat is that organizations like Charlie Hebdo promote division and intolerance."
Other Quebec Muslim groups outright condemned the attacks when contacted by QMI.
– With files from Anne-Caroline Desplanques, Caroline Paillez