Stephane Charbonnier at Charlie Hebdo offices (file)
Stephane Charbonnier at Charlie Hebdo offices (file)Reuters

Stephane Charbonnier, editor-in-chief of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and one of the 12 people murdered in the January 7 attack on its Paris headquarters, has not been silenced as he criticized Islam in a posthumous book released Thursday.

Charbonnier, 47, was also known as "Charb," and took the helm as editorial director from 2009 onward. He was murdered by the Islamist terrorists Said and Cherif Kouachi.

In the new 120-page book that was finished just two days before his murder, Charbonnier defends Charlie Hebdo, which had been criticized for its jabs at Mohammed, the founder of Islam, several years before the attack.

"Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia Who Play Into Racists' Hands," as the book is titled, says all religions can be satirized in secular France, and indeed his paper often attacked Christians and Jews as well. Excerpts were published by L'Obs, as cited by the New York Times.

In the book, which doesn't feature new caricatures, he wrote that his satirical barbs "do not target all Muslims."

Charbonnier said the white elitist campaign against Islamophobia had blocked free speech, while in fact encouraging discrimination towards Muslims by singling them out.

"If tomorrow all the Muslims of France convert to Catholicism or abandon all religion, that would change nothing to racist discourse: these foreigners or French citizens of foreign descent will still be singled out as responsible for all problems," he wrote.

"Being afraid of Islam is most likely stupid, absurd and many other things, but it isn't a crime."

Regarding fears of Islam, a full 1,550 French citizens have joined Syrian and Iraqi terror groups according to the government, amid rising fears of Islamic radicalization in France among its massive Muslim population.

Those fears were further raised just two days after the Charlie Hebdo attack, as the kosher Hyper Cacher supermarket was likewise attacked in Paris, and four Jews were murdered by an Islamist terrorist.

"By virtue of what twisted theory is humor less compatible with Islam than it is with any other religion? Saying Islam is not compatible with humor is as absurd as claiming Islam is not compatible with democracy or secularism," wrote Charbonnier in the book.

The editor argued that "it is because the media decided that republishing the Mohammed caricatures could only trigger the fury of Muslims that it triggered the anger of a few Muslim associations," a reference to the 2006 reprint of a cartoon in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten.

Elaborating on his secular, anti-religious position, he wrote, "the problem is neither the Koran nor the Bible, sleep-inducing, incoherent and badly written novels," but rather it is those who read them "like instructions for assembling Ikea shelves."