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Stephane Charbonnier Obituary

Stephane Charbonnier (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)
Stephane Charbonnier (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)
Stephane Charbonnier, 47, known professionally as Charb, was chief editor of Charlie Hebdo, as well as one of its top cartoonists and a stout defender of its provocative approach. He was in charge when the paper's offices were destroyed by a firebomb in 2011 after it had proposed inviting the Prophet Muhammad to be a guest editor.

Charbonnier defiantly held up a copy of the paper as he stood amid debris. In an interview with The Associated Press, he suggested the attackers "are themselves unbelievers ... idiots who betray their own religion."

In 2012, the paper again provoked controversy by publishing crude caricatures of Muhammad. Charbonnier, who by that time was under police protection, defended the cartoons. "Muhammad isn't sacred to me," he said. "I don't blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don't live under Quranic law."

In an interview with Le Monde, one of France's leading newspapers, he professed to be unafraid. "I don't have kids, no wife, no car, no credit," he told Le Monde. "Maybe it's a little pompous to say, but I'd rather die standing than live on my knees."

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