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Franklin Graham Slams Charlie Hebdo for Russian Plane Crash Cartoons: 'They Were Wrong In Mocking Islam And They're Wrong Now'

( [email protected] ) Nov 10, 2015 12:08 PM EST
Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after it published cartoons mocking the Egypt air disaster, which saw the deaths of 224 people.
Gerard Biard, Charlie Hebdo's editor-in-chief, said the accusation of blasphemy was 'absurd' Twitter

Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has criticized French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after it published cartoons mocking the Egypt air disaster, which saw the deaths of 224 people.

As reported by the Gospel Herald, the French magazine first made headlines in February when Islamist gunmen killed 11 people at its Paris headquarters in January after the publication released photos mocking the prophet Muhammad.

Recently, the magazine once again created a buzz, this time for featuring two cartoons relating to the Metrojet plane, going from Sharm El Sheikh to St Petersburg, which crashed in Sinai on October 31, killing everyone on board.

The first drawing showed a passenger's skull, with the caption: "The dangers of Russian low-cost flights". The second showed the plane's debris falling on an Islamist militant, with the legend: "The Russian air force is intensifying its air strikes."

On Monday, Rev. Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, took to Facebook to share his thoughts on the issue.

"Nothing is sacred to Charlie Hebdo. It seems inconceivable that the French magazine's cartoonists would use the loss of 224 lives that were on the Russian airliner that crashed October 31 in their satire," the evangelist wrote.

The Kremlin has also denounced the magazine, with Dmitry Peskov, the Russian government spokesman, calling the cartoons "pure blasphemy" that had nothing to do with democracy or freedom of expression.

"The magazine's editor said they were a secular, atheist newspaper and that 'the term blasphemy has no meaning for us,'" Graham noted. "I have news for them-it means something to the rest of the world, and it means something to all those whose lives have been forever changed by that tragic crash. Charlie Hebdo was wrong in mocking Islam, and they're wrong now."

Meanwhile, several senior U.S. intelligence, military and national security officials told CNN on Monday they are "99.9%" sure that terrorists bombed the plane.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told CNN's "The Situation Room" that his government still believes "it's more likely than not" that an explosive device caused the plane crash.

"Obviously, we won't know absolutely for certain until the final analysis of the wreckage has taken place," he said. "That could take some time."

According to the New York Times, militants with the terrorist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis - ISIS' ally in Egypt -  are believed to have planted the bomb before takeoff.

"This brings to reality our worst fears," said Mokhtar Awad, a researcher at the Center for American Progress, who tracks the Egyptian militants, "that this group that has the most territory and the most resources and the most power in jihadist history is now a launching pad for terrorist attacks."

"This is their way of retaliating," he said. "Terrorism used as a tool of war - to try to deter attacks by a foreign power."