Zineb el-Rhazoui avoided being killed in the massacre of 10 Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists along with a police officer and a building maintenance worker in 2015 because she was in Casablanca. Now, two years after that massacre, she quit the publication, accusing it of going soft on Islamist extremism, arguing the paper will no longer draw the founder of Islam, Mohammed.
Charlie Hebdo was attacked by jihadists from the terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who stated the reason for their attack was Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the religious figure. Many Muslims find any depiction of Mohammed to be blasphemous.
To add insult to injury, the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo was later given the Islamophobe of the Year award by Britain’s extremist-linked Islamic Human Rights Commission.
“Charlie Hebdo died on 7 January,” Rhazoui told AFP in an interview. She questioned whether the magazine still had the “capacity to carry the torch of irreverence and absolute liberty.”
She also said how much she enjoyed working for a paper that pushed the boundaries of free speech, saying “freedom at any cost is what I loved about Charlie Hebdo, where I worked through great adversity.”
Following the massacre, Moroccan born Rhazoui, 35, wrote a book called Destroy Islamic Fascism. The New York Times described her book, available on Amazon, as an “unapologetic strike against the strict application of Islam.”
She lives under 24-hour guard and is described as the most protected woman in France. Yet, Rhazoui remains committed to struggling against the ideology of Islamism which murdered her colleagues and threatens free speech around the world.
Watch Zineb el Rhazoui deliver her moving TED talk last year: