A satirical magazine that mocks religion, politics and culture like France’s Charlie Hebdo would not be able to exist in Russia, the Kremlin said Thursday after France saw its second deadly terror attack in two weeks.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Thursday’s killing of three people in a Nice church — which came after a Chechen refugee beheaded a French teacher Oct. 16 for showing Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils — a “horrifying tragedy.” His comments to reporters came as footage showed dozens gathered outside the French Embassy in Moscow chanting “Allahu Akbar” in opposition to the display of Prophet Muhammad cartoons.
When asked whether Russia could publish a magazine similar to Charlie Hebdo, Peskov told Kommersant FM radio: “No, it couldn’t.”
“Every faith lives in full respect of each other. That’s why the existence of such a publication is impossible here, including when taking into account our existing laws,” Peskov said, pointing out that Russia is home to around 20 million Muslims.
Peskov declined to answer whether it is acceptable to caricaturize the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims take offense at depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, while France has a proud secular tradition dating back to the Revolution.
Peskov also refused to comment on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s rare rebuke of his earlier remarks that President Vladimir Putin and not regional governors shape Russia’s foreign policy.
Kadyrov on Wednesday had joined other Muslim figures in condemning French President Emmanuel Macron for upholding France’s commitment to the right to mock religion, telling Peskov that he was speaking as a devout Muslim and not as a politician.
“I’m ready to leave my post, suffer or give up my life for this stance,” the 44-year-old leader of Russia’s Muslim-majority region wrote on his social media page.
Famous French-born Russian television journalist Vladimir Pozner told the Podyom news site that Paris should deport “tens of thousands” of radical Islamists following the string of attacks.
Putin has sent his condolences to Macron over the “tragic consequences” of the attacks.