If you thought the Arab world celebrated the attack on Charlie Hebdo as a blow against blasphemers, some Arab-language newspapers tell a different story.
Many newspapers across the Arab world have published cartoons expressing solidarity and support with the French satirical newspaper, much those published by Western cartoonists just hours after the attack. But cartoonists find themselves in a difficult position: Despite the alleged wave of democratization that swept the region during the Arab Spring, free expression is still very much in danger across the region. "Nearly four years later, many people are still watching their step," Israel's YNet newspaper writes. "Authoritarian rule has returned to many Arab countries while the rise of Islamic State militants who have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria also poses dangers to anyone who dares to debate religion."
Below is a collection of cartoons gathered from across the region. Lebanon These two cartoons are from the An Nahar newspaper, with the first one reading "But ... he called me a terrorist."
A Lebanese cartoonist described the situation "easier but far from ideal," following the
Arab Spring since some saw that as the beginning toward freedom of speech.
"We want to defend the freedom of the press, the freedom of the media and the freedom of
opinion. This is our mission," said Stavro Jabro, who draws for two newspapers and knew
some of the victims.
English-language newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed printed a powerful image of a pencil
overpowering a bullet.
Makhlouf, a young cartoonist, drew two cartoons for the privately owned newspaper
"In support with Charlie Hebdo," it says on top with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.
In the other cartoon, Makhlouf drew "himself holding up a pencil in the face of an assailant
wearing a balaclava, with almost alien-like eyes, as he points a gun at him," the outlet writes.
The Arabic again says "In support of Charlie Hebdo."
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