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Zineb El Rhazoui (Women in the World).

Free expression

‘Most protected woman’ in France quits satirical magazine for going soft on Muslim extremists

By WITW Staff on January 6, 2017

Zineb El Rhazoui, the ‘most protected woman’ in France, said she’s resigning from her job at Charlie Hebdo, the controversial satirical magazine that was targeted by Muslim extremists in a shooting rampage two years ago. Speaking with Agence-France Presse, El Rhazoui suggested the notoriously irreverent and defiant magazine has gone soft on extremists and actually succumbed to their demands that an image of the prophet Mohammed should never be depicted.

“Charlie Hebdo died on January 7 [2015],” El Rhazoui said in the interview, referring to the shooting massacre that left 12 dead, including nine of her Hebdo colleagues. She happened to be out of the office the day the Islamist gunmen burst into the Paris offices with assault rifles and began firing. “Freedom at any cost is what I loved about Charlie Hebdo, where I worked through great adversity,” she said, adding that the jihadists may as well be editing the magazine now, ensuring “that Mohammed is no longer depicted.” El Rhazoui, 35, said she hasn’t actually written anything for the publication in about a year due to the direction it has taken.

Last October, El Rhazoui visited the Women in the World offices in New York City for a wide-ranging interview with reporter Emma-Kate Symons. She elaborated on the survivor’s guilt she grappled with after escaping the grim fate many of her colleagues met. January 7 marked the two-year anniversary of the tragedy.

“Straight after the attacks, like many of my colleagues I felt guilty for having stayed alive,” she said at the time. “I said to myself ‘Those who are dead are dead for all our work, and some are dead when it wasn’t even their work. But it was my work because I am a journalist and I am still here.’ And then you understand this is all part of survivor syndrome, which is normal when you survive a massacre like that.”

El Rhazoui has been one of the most outspoken critics in the world about Islamic extremism, to the point where fatwas calling for her death have been issued and she routinely receives death threats. She travels with a constant security presence surrounding her. Her latest book, Destroy Islamic Fascism, is just as incendiary, if not more so, than anything she’s done in the past. And she touched on several of the themes that appear in the text during her interview with Women in the World. Below, watch a clip of her discussing why “those that think terrorism has nothing to do with Islam are ignorant.”

Read the full story at Agence-France Presse.


Zineb el Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo survivor, discusses why the world needs to ‘Destroy Islamic Fascism’

Charlie Hebdo’s Zineb El Rhazoui pens searing open letter to would-be jihadists