New York gala to honor Charlie Hebdo under increased security

May 5, 2015 21:46

NEW YORK - The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, targeted in a deadly attack earlier this year by Islamist gunmen, will be honored on Tuesday at a New York gala under heavy security, organizers said.

The award from the PEN American Center comes two days after two gunmen opened fire at a Texas exhibit of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad, depictions that Muslims consider offensive.

Drawings of the founder of Islam were also at the heart of the January attack on Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices that killed 12 people. Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the weekly had insulted the Prophet Mohammad with its cartoons.

PEN's decision to give the Freedom of Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo prompted six prominent writers to withdraw from the event and more than 100 others to write a letter of protest, said PEN, an organization advocating on behalf of writers persecuted because of their work.

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