World Bulletin/News Desk
Maurice Sinet, 86, who works under the pen name Sine in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, faced charges of "inciting racial hatred" for a column he wrote in 2009. The piece sparked a slanging match among the Parisian intelligentsia and ended in his dismissal from the magazine.
"L'affaire Sine" followed the engagement of Mr Sarkozy, 22, to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of an electronic goods chain. Commenting on an unfounded rumour that the president's son planned to convert to Judaism, Sine quipped: "He'll go a long way in life, that little lad."
A high-profile political commentator slammed the column as linking prejudice about Jews and social success. Charlie Hebdo's editor, Philippe Val, asked Sinet to apologise but he refused in a very strictly manner.
Mr Val's decision to fire Sine was backed by a group of eminent intellectuals, including the philosopher Bernard-Henry Lévy, but parts of the libertarian Left defended him, citing the right to free speech.
As mocking young Mr Sarkozy converted to Judaism for money, Sine was accused of being Anti-Semitic and faced many preassures leading him to be fired from the weekly magazine. The same magazine published cartoons even insulting the Islam Prophet Muhammad and Muslims yet explained them as “freedom of speech.”
Charlie Hebdo published cartoons about Prophet Jesus and Chiristianity, too, causing the magazine being sued 12 times by Catholic Chuch.
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