Charlie Hebdo accused of hypocrisy after suspending journalist critical of extremism

Zineb El Rhazoui (pictured centre) said that she has been suspended and called to a possible dismissal hearing for an unspecified 'serious fault'

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The Independent Online

The magazine Charlie Hebdo has been accused of hypocrisy after it suspended a French-Moroccan journalist who has received death threats for her articles attacking islamist extremism.

Zineb El Rhazoui said that she has been suspended and called to a possible dismissal hearing for an unspecified “serious fault”. She accused the  management of trying to “punish” her for joining a protest against the way that the magazine had been run since the murderous jihadist attack on its office four months ago.

Ms El Rhazoui said that she was “shocked and scandalised” that a magazine which had received so much worldwide support since the terrorist attack on 7 January “should demonstrate so little solidarity with one of its one employees…who is under threat of murder”.

“My husband lost his job and had to leave Morocco because the jihadists revealed his workplace. I am under threat and having to live with friends or in a hotel and the management is thinking of firing me. Bravo Charlie,” she said.

 

Ms El Rhazoui, a sociologist and journalist who has written outspoken articles attacking  Islamic fundamentalism, was one of  15 Charlie Hebdo writers, editors and cartoonists who wrote an open letter criticising the magazine’s owners and management in late March.          

The dissidents said that they feared that the fiercely left wing and anti-religious Charlie Hebdo might succumb to the “poison of the millions” of euros that had flowed into its coffers since 12 people died in jihadist attack in Paris in January. They called for the magazine to become a “cooperative” and asked for its new found riches to be placed in a trust to guarantee the magazines’ survival for “30 years”.

An unnamed spokesman for Charlie Hebdo told the newspaper Le Monde that there were no plans to fire Ms El Rhazoui. She had been suspended and called to an “interview” to remind her of her “responsibilities”.

Another Charlie Hebdo writer, Patrick Pelloux, a doctor who writes on health subjects, accused the magazine’s management of hypocrisy. “We are all still trying to cope with life after the attack,” he said. “It is nasty and unfair to call a disciplinary meeting for a member of staff  who is still suffering incredibly… “

“It is paradoxical that the magazine receives prizes for freedom of expression while disciplining a journalist whose life is under threat”.    

Another unnamed Charlie Hebdo journalist told Le Monde that Ms El Rhazoui was known for her “loud mouth” but she had “exposed herself to danger for years”. Amongst other things she had collaborated on a satirical book “The Life of Mohamed,” with the magazine’s late editor, Stephane Charbonnier (Charb), who was killed by the Kouachi brohers when they attacked the magazine on 7 January.

“I am very surprised by (what the management is doing),” the journalist said. “For a magazine like Charlie, it’s incredible. It’s brutal.”

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