Charlie Hebdo Cover Defiantly Depicts Prophet Muhammad
The satirical French magazine refuses to give in...
Following the horrific events in Paris last week, that saw 12 people killed, satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has made the decision to depict the prophet Muhammad on the front cover of its latest issue.
But while it may be a cartoon, the image is unquestionably serious.
The cover of the self-styled 'Journal Irresponsable' shows the prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading “Je suis Charlie". The headline reads "Tout est pardone," meaning “All is forgiven". It was drawn by cartoonist Luz, who survived the attack because he was late arriving at the office.
Zineb El Rhazoui, a surviving Charlie Hebdo columnist, said the cover was a call to forgive Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, the gunmen who attacked the magazine's offices last week.
“We don’t feel any hate to them. We know that the struggle is not with them as people, but the struggle is with an ideology," she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Rhazoui went on to explain that the cover image is intended to make a peaceful statement, adding that those who might be offended by it are free to ignore it.
"We feel that we have to forgive what happened," she said. "I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this … We feel at the Charlie Hebdo team that we need to forgive.
“The two terrorists who killed our colleagues, we cannot feel any hate… The mobilisation that happened in France after this horrible crime must open the door to forgiveness. Everyone must think about this forgiveness.
“Our friends died because of small drawings, because of a joke, but what happen to us was not a joke," she continued. "Islam must accept to be treated like all the other religions in this country. And they must accept humour also."
Charlie Hebdo's lawyer Richard Malka told France Info radio: "We will not give in otherwise all this won't have meant anything. Humour without self-deprecation isn't humour. We mock ourselves, politicians, religions, it's a state of mind you need to have."
Former French prime minister François Fillon has spoken in support of the cover, calling it "magnificent", while London mayor Boris Johnson said: "It is absolutely vital now that everybody stands up and defends their right to publish. You may not agree with what they have done, you may be offended by what they have done, but you should defend their right to publish it."
Three million copies of the eight-page edition are to be printed in 16 languages (including Arabic), after the massacre triggered a worldwide debate on free speech and brought more than four million people to the streets of France in a unity march on Sunday.
The Simpsons this week paid tribute to Charlie Hebdo victims with an image of Maggie holding a flag bearing the slogan "Je suis Charlie".
And many Arab-language publications have spoken in support of the magazine.
Lebanon's An Nahar newspaper published this cartoon, which reads: "This is how we avenge the cartoonists' killer."
Quatar-based English-language newspaper Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed depicted a pencil overpowering a bullet.
And Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm declared: "Long live sarcasm".