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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Breaking: UK shops to receive Charlie Hebdo magazine despite radical cleric calling it an "act of war"

Radical preacher Anjem Choudray has criticised Charlie Hebdo's latest front cover as 'an act of war'
(Picture Credit: AFP)
Hundreds of copies of the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo 'survivors' magazine are expected to be brought to the UK when it is published on Wednesday despite claims by radical preacher Anjem Choudary it is "an act of war".
Hundreds of copies of the 'survivors' edition of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine are expected to go on sale in the UK when the magazine is published on Wednesday.
Radical preacher Anjem Choudray has criticised the magazine's controversial cartoon front cover of the Prophet Mohammed as "an act of war".
The latest edition is published a week after many of the Charlie Hebdo editorial team were massacred in an attack at their Paris office which saw terrorist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi kill 12 people.
Five of Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists - including the editor - were killed in the attack.
Smiths News, the distribution arm of WH Smiths, and Menzies are expected to be purchasing up to a 2,000 copies to supply to stores in the Uk.
Radical cleric Mr Choudary said "ridiculing" Mohammed is attacking his personality, and said these actions are "extremely serious", adding that if the "act of war" was to be tried in a Shariah Court it would carry capital punishment.
The lecturer in Shariah law, who was arrested in the UK last September as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism, described it as "blatant provocation".
Smiths News has said it is presently due to be bringing up to 1,000 copies into the UK.
A spokeswoman said: "We are due to get a very limited supply of the title but full details are yet to be confirmed."
However, WH Smiths says it will not be stocking it.
A spokeswoman said: "Charlie Hebdo isn’t a title we normally stock, so it won’t be available in our stores."
Distributors Menzies is also due to supply hundreds of copies to outlets across the UK.
A spokesman said the final numbers will be confirmed later due to the increased demand but it is expected to bring in up to 1,000 copies.
"I can confirm that Menzies Distribution will handle supplies of the upcoming Charlie Hebdo special edition," said the firm's head of communications Dave Shedden.
"We don't expect to face particular (security) issues, but we will take whatever precautions our security team believe are sensible to ensure the safety of our employees."
The edition which is expected to be released on January 14 will see three million copies sent to newsagents across France and the rest of the world.
It is not expected to reach some UK shelves until Friday.
Customers from the UK have been taking to French media sites to try and order copies online.
The frontpage of the upcoming 'survivors' edition of Charlie Hebdo (AFP)
Online community news site Reddit has been inundated with people from across the globe asking where they can purchase copies.
It had agreen to take orders and has been forced to suspend the offer due to the demand.
It has posted on its website: "To say that we've been overwhelmed by the amount of support from all around the globe is putting it very mildly. We expected a large number of requests, but nowhere near the flood we've got.
"Unfortunately, that also means that not everyone who posted in the thread will get an issue. I will make sure we get as many of you the physical copies, but out of sheer numbers it won't be easy.
"In order to spread it as far as possible, I would like to let you know one thing: We will most probably not be honoring requests for multiple issues from the same person. We don't want to drain Charlie Hebdo's circulation."
A lawyer for the Charlie Hebdo magazine said that the upcoming edition would "obviously" contain cartoons of the Prophet as well as mocking other political and religious leaders.
"We will not give up, it is the spirit of 'Je suis Charlie, which is to say is is also our right to blaspheme," said the magazine's solicitor Richard Malka, speaking to radio station France Info.
Speaking about the security arrangements for the distribution of the upcoming edition, a spokesman for one of the firms involved said he was not aware of any specific threats.
"I think most of the papers have covered it and some have used the cartoons and some haven't but I don't think there's necessarily a security threat, touch wood," said a spokesman for Comag, a niche magazine distributor.
"It hasn't dissuaded anyone from publishing it or distributing it.
"At the moment it's only about 200 copies with a sort of London focus. Possibly a thousand maximum - we don't necessarily know yet," said the spokesman.
"They'll be distributed within the normal channels. We don't usually bring it over, this is a one-off, the survivors' issue, that they've contacted us because there's not really a call for. We don't usually distribute the normal weekly one."
"I think they'll sell well, just as a collectors' piece. And to show solidarity."
The edition will be priced at £3.50 in the UK.
In total the Kouachi brothers and their colleague Amedy Coulibaly killed 17 police and civilians in separate attacks on the French capital.
By Nicola Harley
Credit: The Telegraph.

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