The Islamic Human Rights Organisation conferred their annual international “Islamophobia’ award on controversial French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, according to The Independent.
Two months ago, 12 Charlie Hebdo staff members were shot dead as gunmen stormed into their office for printing blasphemous images of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The awards, which were devised by the IHRC, a non-profit organisation — a British group that campaigns against terrorism took place at a ceremony on Saturday.
Beating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US president Barack Obama and American television host Bill Maher to the title, Charlie Hebdo was awarded ‘the world’s most Islamophobic person or publication’ in 2015.
However, the award has been termed “insensitive”, as it comes in the wake of the massacre on January 7 this year, in which brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi forced their way into the Paris offices and killed a dozen journalists and cartoonists.
But the IHRC, a prominent Muslim group with ties to the United Nations, insisted that the awards were supposed to be taken as “tongue in cheek”.
“The annual Islamophobia awards have come to be known as a tongue in cheek swipe at those in public life who have perpetrated or perpetuated acts of hatred against Muslims and their faith,” a spokesperson said.
Undeterred by the attacks, Charlie Hebdo published a ‘special edition’ also featuring sacrilegious cartoons and sold more than five million copies.
Other winners of the awards were Theresa May, who won ‘Islamophobe of the year’, Maajid Nawaz, ‘UK Islamophobe of the year’, American Sniper for ‘Islamophobe film of the year’ and Fox News for ‘media Islamophobes of the year’.
Massoud Shadjareh, the group’s chairman, told the International Business Times that it was “a satirical thing”, and was designed to counter the image of Muslims as “dry and angry”.
“If people think Muslims should be on the receiving end of satire, then why cannot Muslims give it, too?” he said, adding: “We have a sense of humour and we can give it back.”
The ‘survivor issue’ of Charlie Hebdo sparked protests across the Muslim world.