Swiss have to wait for latest Charlie Hebdo

Punters in French-speaking Switzerland hoping to get a look on Wednesday at this week’s special edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine were in for a disappointment because no copies were available.

Swiss have to wait for latest Charlie Hebdo
Photo: AFP

Contrary to what had been promised, copies of the French satirical weekly were not delivered due to heavy demand in France following last week’s attack by a pair of Muslim terrorists in Paris that killed ten of the publication’s staff, including well-known cartoonists.

A shipment of 5,000 copies was to be delivered for western Switzerland but this was not possible due to the heavy demand, Alain Meynier, a spokesman for distributor Naville Press, told broadcaster RTS.

Meynier said that he hoped a shipment would be possible for Wednesday evening so that the magazine would be available from newsstands on Thursday morning.

He said the delay was due to technical problems with the printing of the magazine.

As a result only 176,000 copies were produced instead of the three million planned. 

Meynier added that the Paris region was given highest priority for distribution.

Despite having a relatively small circulation before last week’s terrorist attack, Charlie Hebdo is well-known in French-speaking Switzerland.

And even while the magazine remains unavailable in Switzerland, its front cover, has been widely reported on.

It features a front page cartoon of Mohammed carrying a “Je suis Charlie” sign below the words “Tout est pardonné” (everything is forgiven).

The cover has already sparked a backlash from some Muslims.

“I condemn the attacks that hit innocent people,” said Hani Ramadan, chairman of the Islamic Centre of Geneva, is quoted as saying by 20 Minutes newspaper.

“But freedom of expression has limits,” Ramadan said.

“One should have respect for someone who is more than a father for all our community: our prophet.”

But Hafid Ouardiri, director of the Geneva-based Inter-Knowing Foundation (Fondation de l’entre-connaissance), told 20 Minutes he liked the cover and the message of “forgiveness” that it transmits.

“We should forgive, but not forget, to prevent again fanatics from attacking freedom in the name of a religion,” said Ouardiri, who organization aims to promote understanding between Islamic culture and the rest of the world.  



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UPDATE: Woman jailed for nine years for knife attack on Swiss shoppers

In a rare case of alleged Islamist "terrorism" in Switzerland, a woman was jailed for nine years on Monday for the brutal knife attack on two shoppers at an upscale department store.

UPDATE: Woman jailed for nine years for knife attack on Swiss shoppers

A Swiss woman accused of slashing two people in the name of the Islamic State group in an upmarket shop
was sentenced on Monday to nine years prison coupled with psychiatric treatment.

The criminal court judges found the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, guilty of two counts of attempted murder, and of violating the Swiss laws against association with Al-Qaeda, IS and related Islamist groups.

The woman, who has not been named, tried to slit the throats of two women shopping at the Manor store in Lugano, in Switzerland’s southern, Italian-speaking Ticino region on November 24, 2020.

The attacker, 28 at the time, was accused of committing a “jihadist knife attack” and had “intended to kill her victims and to commit a terrorist act on behalf of IS” (the Islamic State group), the attorney general’s office said earlier this year.

Random victims

On the day of the attack, the woman had gone to Manor’s kitchen supply division on the fifth floor, picked out a large bread knife and approached a random woman standing nearby.

Grabbing her from behind, the assailant plunged the knife at least 10 centimetres into her throat, missing her main carotid artery “by a few millimetres”, the court heard. 

As she screamed “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) and “I will avenge the Prophet Mohammed”, she struck the victim to the ground, and then moved on to a second woman, stabbing the knife towards her face and shouting “I am here for

The second woman suffered defensive wounds to her right hand, but managed with help from others to overpower her attacker and hold her until police arrived.

“The suspect acted wilfully and with particular ruthlessness,” prosecutors said, maintaining that she had acted “with the aim of killing (her victims) and thereby spreading terror throughout the population on behalf of the ‘Islamic State’.”

Mental health problems

Police quickly discovered the alleged assailant had been linked to a 2017 jihadism investigation.

After “falling in love” over social media with a jihadist fighter in Syria, she had attempted in 2017 to travel to the war-torn country to meet him, but was stopped by Turkish authorities at the Syrian border and sent back to Switzerland, it is alleged.

Upon her return, she was deemed to have mental health problems. She was admitted to a psychiatric clinic and fell off the security police radar until the attack three years later, police said.

The assailant had reportedly once been married to a Muslim asylum seeker and had converted to Islam.

‘Very rare’

Experts said the trial marked a rare event, pointing out that such attacks are almost unheard of in the wealthy Alpine country.

Switzerland has never experienced a large-scale terror attack, though it did suffer two other individual knife attacks in 2020 by people with suspected jihadist ties.

“In Switzerland, it’s been very random and very rare that we have people that conduct terrorist attacks,” Christina Schori Liang, a terrorism expert at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, told AFP.

It is even rarer that the alleged jihadist attacker is a woman.

“Isis has never claimed an attack carried out by a woman,” Damien Ferre, founder of the Jihad Analytics group which analyses global and cyber jihad, told AFP.

While there were reports of women carrying out attacks in the battle for Mosul in Iraq in 2004, he stressed that “it was never proven and the group did not communicate about it.”