David Calling

Like Inspector Clouseau

Someone has thrown Molotov cocktails into the offices in Paris of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine (whose title amalgamates the first name of the founder and a shortened version of the French for weekly). Computers, files, everything has been burnt out though nobody was hurt. The French Minister of the Interior, Claude Guéant by name, said the police were looking into the possibility that this was an act of terrorism. This is pretty brilliant detective work on the part of the Minister and the authorities.

Charlie Hebdo was in the process of bringing out  an issue with the title “Shariah Weekly,” leading with a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad and a promise put into his mouth, “100 lashes if you don’t die from laughter.” The front cover reports the laws forbidding representation of the Prophet, and there had been quite a bit of media coverage about this. Journalists at the paper were receiving anonymous threats and their website was hacked. These threats, Claude Guéant said with that flash of intuition that makes him so great a Minister and defender of Europe, might imply Muslim terrorists and “we can’t ignore this lead.”

Surely not, but fishermen in the Faroe Islands are upset by quotas on their catches, and sports coaches in Germany are complaining about inadequate facilities. They are far likelier suspects of throwing Molotov cocktails at satirists and the French law enforcement agencies, inspired by the memory of Peter Sellers’ immortal Inspector Clouseau, must pursue them with diligence.


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