Charbonnier, popularly known as Charb, completed the book Lettre Ouverte aux Escrocs de l’Islamophobie qui Font le Jeu des Racistes mere days before the attacks that left him and sixteen other people dead. In it, he described how the fight against Islamophobia is undermining the real fight against those who use their holy books “like instructions for assembling Ikea shelves,” along with racism in general, during a time where France is seeing an increasing rate of racial discrimination-against people of all religions.
Nonetheless, Muslims in France remain one of, if not the largest target, with the community being victimized six times more frequently in 2015 than in the same period the year before, no doubt as a result of the January attacks carried out by Muslim extremists. But the number of Jews and Roma being targeted are also increasing, while the popularity of the anti-immigrant National Front is rising among the French people, indicating that the fight should not be centred specifically around Islamophobia. And the government agrees with this, as Prime Minister Manuel Valls stated that “racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims, of foreigners, homophobia are increasing in an unbearable manner,” during an announcement of a massive anti-racism program in the country.
Charb understood this, but argued that the media did not, instead plastering ‘Islamic’ in their headlines to get more attention, which the ultimately get. And this can be one of the most racist acts of all. “The suggestion that you can laugh at everything,” Charb wrote. “Except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more susceptible than the rest of the population, what is that, if not discrimination?”
Strong words in favour of equality, but dangerous to the extremists who killed him.