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Americans Show Broad Support For Charlie Hebdo In Survey

A study from the Pew Research Center shows more Americans think it was OK for Charlie Hebdo to publish the cartoons that prompted the deadly attack.

By Jill Ornitz | January 31, 2015

When it comes to the intersection of religion and press freedom in the U.S., most Americans said French magazine Charlie Hebdo had the right to publish the cartoons that lead to an attack on its Parisian office.

According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of respondents said the magazine was in the right, while only 28 percent said the cartoons should not have been published. 

Armed men attacked the magazine's offices in early January after it published satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

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The attack left 12 dead, including Charlie Hebdo's editorial director.

Of the people surveyed, more white respondents than non-white said publishing the cartoons was okay.

Pew also looked at political divisions, showing 70 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of college graduates surveyed were OK with Charlie Hebdo publishing the cartoons.

And the research suggests the shooting actually changed the way Americans view controversial published content in general.

A poll conducted by USA Today and CNN/Gallup in 2006 showed 61 percent of respondents thought European newspapers that printed cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed were acting irresponsibly by doing so.

That same 2006 poll showed the majority of respondents blamed the newspaper controversy on "Muslims' intolerance of different viewpoints" rather than "Western nations' lack of respect for Islam."

NBC reported Saturday that Charlie Hebdo will postpone the publication of its next two issues to give the magazine's staff time to grieve.

This video includes images from Getty Images

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