On Security

How Satirical Cartoons Have Become a Flashpoint for Violence in Europe and Abroad

Ben West
Global Security Analyst, Stratfor
Nov 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Emergency personnel on Oct. 31, 2020, in Lyon, France, at the scene of an attack on a Greek Orthodox priest.

Emergency personnel on Oct. 31, 2020, in Lyon, France, at the scene of an attack on a Greek Orthodox priest.

(PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images)

Recent attacks and unrest in Europe and across the Muslim world are part of a pattern of violence associated with the Mohamed cartoon controversy that has recently flared up due to an ongoing trial in Paris. Attacks in September and early October focused on individuals and symbols directly linked to the cartoons, but the target set expanded as initial attacks spawned more violence, along with apparent retaliation to the initial attacks. In Europe, the return of the cartoon controversy comes amid rising concerns over Islamophobia and associated attacks. Verdicts in the trial that began the latest chapter of the controversy are expected in December, potentially providing motivation for even more attacks. The continual reemergence of the Mohammed cartoon controversy suggests that this issue will remain an issue that motivates violence for years to come....

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