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French weekly magazines review

This week French magazines are all about the ravages of the amateur video mocking the Prophet Mohammed that has enraged Muslims the world over.


The matter is so serious that Le Canard Enchaîné shelved its usual satirical tone to present what it described as a grotesque, useless and boring film. The paper explains that the 14-minute Innocence of Moslems picture fell flat when it first came out in the United States almost a year ago.

It was in July, according to the weekly, that the authors decided to do an Arabic version and to post it on YouTube. For the weekly, it took months, before news started spreading in Muslim countries that America had insulted the prophet, calling him a “bloodthirsty paedophile”.

“Bitter autumn for the Arab Spring” headlines L’Express. The right-wing weekly claims the relations between Western nations and the new regimes delivered by the democratic uprising never looked good, even during the 20-month revolutionary wave that rocked the Arab world.

For Le Nouvel Observateur, it is Obama’s head that the Islamist fanatics and Christian fundamentalists are trying to chop off. The left-leaning magazine notes that they want two things - to ensure that the release of the Arabic version of the video coincided with the 11th anniversary of September 9/11 and to influence the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

Arab world expert Mathieu Guidère, the author of The Islamic Spring, Democracy and Sharia, attributes the “conflagration” to another root cause. It is a fight to the death for the mantle of Islam, pitting the moderate Muslim Brotherhood and fundamentalist Salafists who advocate the use of violence against "infidels".

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Le Point publishes evidence of Sharia terror being perpetrated by the Ansar Eddine Salafists controlling northern Mali. A correspondent for the magazine tells the horror story of a 30 year-old Tuareg herdsman who had his arm cut off, after being suspected of cattle rustling. Le Point reports that man’s stump was still bleeding and wrapped in stained cloth when he arrived after a three-day trek across Niger and Burkina Faso.

Le Point also examines the growing crisis of authority and violence in French schools, saying that the issue has proved a headache for the French government this week. This is after a Muslim student in Bordeaux slapped his teacher because he didn’t agree with the content of the religion course. Just two days later a woman in Poitiers slapped her son’s teacher because she didn’t like remarks the teacher had written in her report book.

The two incidents set Le Point wondering where the value of respect have gone. The magazine found out that 55 per cent of school staff members have bought insurance policies that include judicial assistance for work-related violence. According to the journal 1,330 teachers have filed cases for physical attacks in France since 2008, 12,000 more seeking reparation for threats, insults, defamation and harassment.

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