Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in Lebanon, denounced on Tuesday the recent publishing of cartoons by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that ridiculed Iran’s ruling mullahs and called on France to retaliate.
Hezbollah, which Iran backs, claimed that the insulting caricatures were an “ugly deed by the magazine” directed at Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, who is regarded as the spiritual head of tens of millions of devout Shiites around the world, including in Lebanon.
France did not immediately respond with a statement.
Critics claim that Charlie Hebdo’s lengthy history of releasing crude drawings criticizing Islamists is profoundly offensive to Muslims.
The journal has been the victim of various attacks throughout the years, including a 2015 attack by two al-Qaida fanatics from France that resulted in the deaths of 12 cartoonists.
The results of a recent cartoon competition, in which participants were challenged to create the most obscene caricatures of Khamenei, are featured in the publication’s most current edition.
The competition was promoted as a sign of solidarity with Iran’s protracted anti-government demonstrations.
In one of the finalists, a turbaned priest is shown straining for a hangman’s rope as he drowns in blood.
In another, Khamenei is depicted clinging to a massive throne above demonstrators brandishing clenched fists.
Others show more coarse and graphic sexual content.
Hezbollah released a statement urging the French government to “take decisive measures to punish those behind the atrocity for assaulting dignitaries of an entire nation.” “The French government… should not participate in this crime,”
Shiite organization Hezbollah members also see Khamenei as their spiritual leader.
Charlie Hebdo proclaims itself as a supporter of democracy and free speech, but it has produced similarly awful drawings about dead child migrants, virus victims, neo-Nazis, popes, Jewish leaders, and other public people.
However, it frequently violates French rules against hate speech by making sexually graphic caricatures directed at almost everyone.