PEN America generated quite a controversy when it decided to honor French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. Six authors called for a boycott of the gala and circulated a petition slamming the organization. Other authors, like Salman Rushdie, criticized the critics. Despite all the back-and-forth, the one perspective that seemed missing from the discussion was that of French Muslims. Now Vice has gone ahead and asked some. While the opinions of a few may be anecdotal, their answers might surprise some critics of PEN America, like French-born author Mabrouch Rachedi:
Cabu, Wolinski, and Charb were very famous cartoonists; I’d grown up with them. The act of calling them racists is a complete misread of what these caricaturists stood for in France. They were, in every struggle, against the [far right-wing party] National Front.