The Charlie Hebdo website hacked after insulting the Islamist Iranian regime

The website of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was allegedly hacked in the wake of the publication of obscene cartoons mocking the Islamist regime in Iran.

Almost exactly eight years to the day after the Islamist terrorist attack that killed twelve Charlie Hebdo employees, the French magazine is said to have been subjected to an online attack after it published several cartoons mocking Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamist regime in Tehran’s treatment of women.

Prosecutors in Paris opened an investigation into the website hack on Thursday, telling AFP: “An investigation was opened today into managers of fraudulent access to an automated data processing system.”

The investigation will also look into fraudulent maintenance, fraudulent data modification, fraudulent data mining and obstruction of the operation of the website, prosecutors added.

In conversation with the news agency, a source close to the matter also said that there was an “attack on the commercial website and a disfigurement of the website”.

However, no one has yet come forward to take responsibility or make demands.

The hack raises the possibility of violence affecting the magazine’s readership, as the data theft may have included the personal information of “several thousand subscribers” to the site.

The satirical magazine has become a notorious touchstone in the battle between the Western principle of free speech and a backlash from the Islamic world, which has reacted with fury over allegedly blasphemous cartoons, including caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

7 January 2015, Gunmen “clad in black balaclavas and carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles” breached the Paris office of Charlie Hebdoand eventually murdered 12 people in response to the portrayal of the Islamic prophet.

The violence surrounding the caricatures has continued, and a Chechen refugee beheaded French teacher Samuel Paty last year after he showed his class images from the magazine during a lesson on freedom of expression.

In March this year, a teacher in England was suspended after demonstrating Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his class. The teacher was later forced into hiding after a local Muslim group revealed his identity online.

On Wednesday, Charlie Hebdo published another series of cartoons, including one in which a group of miniature Ayatollah Khameneis were depicted entering a vagina, in an apparent reference to the women’s rights protests that have erupted in the country.

In response to the publication, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned of retaliation from the Islamic Republic, saying: “The insulting and indecent act of a French publication by publishing cartoons against religious and political authority will not go without an effective and firm response.” .”

The minister went on to say that the French government, by allowing such material to be published, has “chosen the wrong path” and that the Iranian government will ensure that France does not “overstep its tracks”.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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