French press review 19 January 2015

The attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket two weeks ago are still on everybody's mind here in France.


Libération is still talking about the front page of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.

If you've been living under a rock or hiding in a cave for the past two weeks, know that the cover depict the prophet Mohammed.

The newspaper asked three foreign papers' editors what they thought of it.

And the answers are quite interesting.

Ines Pohl, the head of German daily Tageszeitung, says the cover was funny and acted as a kind of peace offering. In Germany almost all the papers published Charlie cartoons and that didn't sparked any debate says Libé.

On the other hand, the New York Times decided not to run with the cover. Phil Corbett, the deputy editor, says the decision was difficult to make.

"We support Charlie's right to cause offence," he said. "But journalists have to decide what to say and every publication is responsible for its own choices."

Slideshow Charlie Hebdo

This morning's Le Figaro headlines on schools. The right-leaning newspaper is urging the government to reform France's education system when it comes to secularism. Since the attack on Charlie Hebdo last week, some have been pointing out the failure of the French schools when it comes to secularism and integration.

The attackers were all French, after all. Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is supposed to unveil a reform tomorrow. But don't hold your breath, warns Le Figaro, the minister should concentrate on secularism, reducing inequalities and mobilising everyone involved in schools.

In the meantime, the daily gives us a few suggestions.

First, it should be mandatory for French kids to sing la Marseillaise, France's national anthem, at schools. More originally, the newspaper thinks teachers should teach about religion. Finally, and Le Figaro wouldn't be Le Figaro without an appeal to the values of the past, the newspaper thinks we should go back to how things were 50 years ago.

Le Monde has an article on how Muslim children are reacting to the events of the past few weeks. The newspaper is reporting from a school located in the suburbs of Lyon. Sevda, a mom who was born in Turkey, says her 12-year-old son is now scared to take the bus and the metro.

Another mom of Algerian origin says her son "asked her why all Muslim are killers". Le Monde says Muslim parents had to answer a lot of difficult questions after the attacks - and often it's hard to find the right words.

"I tell them that our religion has nothing to do with these acts of violence," explains Sevda. "On the contrary, they had no right to take life."

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Website Rue89 is talking about the number of atheists in France. According to a study conducted by Gallup,  France ranks fourth in the world when it comes to the number of atheists. That means 29 per cent of the French population is atheist, putting the country just behind China, Japan and the Czech Republic.

That's really high - the world average is around 13 per cent. Plus 34 per cent of French people say they're not very religious. These are numbers the French should keep in mind, says Rue89, especially when it comes to religious satire.

That's probably why the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo shocked abroad and not here.

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