MP George Galloway has branded Charlie Hebdo “racist” and “Islamophobic” as he condemned the latest depiction of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover following the terrorist massacre at the magazine’s Paris offices.
The Respect MP told a rally it was right to “condemn utterly” the murders carried out in the Paris attacks against the satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.
But he said while it was rightly illegal to deny the Holocaust under French law it was hailed as “some kind of freedom of speech” to be able to offend Muslims.
Speaking at a rally outside Bradford City Hall, Mr Galloway said: “No person, no human being, should be subjected to violence, still less death for anything that they have said, written or drawn.
“So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a kind of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.
“These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7 billion human beings on this Earth.”
He added: “How come it’s illegal to hurt and offend Jews in France but it’s some kind of freedom of speech to offend, and obscene pornography be drawn and published now in the millions of copies, against Muslims. That’s hypocrisy, not democracy. Shame on the government of France.”
Mr Galloway posted a video of the speech, delivered on Saturday, on his Facebook page.
He said: “The proper job of a satirist, the proper job of a cartoonist, the proper job of a journalist, is to hold the powerful and the rich to account.
“Charlie Hebdo’s entire purpose, and for years, has been to further marginalise, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered.
“It is a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.
“Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo.
“We say that the honour of religious people, their prophets, their beliefs, is not fair game for such people.”
Setting out the limits on free speech that already exist he added: “No one can shout ‘fire’ in a darkened cinema, because their right of freedom of speech to shout ‘fire’ is trumped by the right of the people in the cinema not to be trampled and killed in the resulting panic.
“Well when you do the pornographic, obscene provocations like Hebdo did every week and now has done in millions of copies, you are doing the same as the inciter, you are doing the same as the dangerous man falsely shouting ‘fire’ in that darkened cinema.”
During the speech, which was applauded by the crowd, he said the unity march in Paris in the wake of the atrocity attracted world leaders who were “some of the worst tyrants, dictators, criminals, mass murderers that could be assembled anywhere in the world”, singling out Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia for criticism.