Tamil Diplomat

First Charlie Hebdo cover since deadly attack depicts prophet Muhammad

The front cover of Wednesday’s edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the first since last week’s attack on its offices that left 12 people dead, is a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad.

The cover shows the prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading “Je suis Charlie” in sympathy with the dead journalists. The headline says “All is forgiven”.

The two gunmen who launched the attack on the magazine’s offices last Wednesday killed five of the country’s top cartoonists, saying that they wanted to avenge the prophet for Charlie Hebdo’s satire of him.

The grieving journalists who survived the murderous assault promised it would be business as usual at the weekly publication.

A record 3m copies are to be printed, in 16 languages, after the massacre triggered a worldwide debate on free speech and brought more than 4 million people on to the streets of France in a unity march on Sunday.

The eight-page edition went to the presses on Monday night, according to Libération, the newspaper that offered Charlie Hebdo staff temporary working space following the attack.

The cover cartoon was drawn by the weekly’s cartoonist Luz, who survived the massacre because he was late arriving at the office.

The prophet has been a frequent target of Charlie Hebdo, whose editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, was undeterred by death threats for depicting his visual image in a manner certain to offend many Muslims.

Charlie Hebdo cover
Charlie Hebdo cover. Photograph: Charlie Hebdo/EPA
Newspapers around Europe, including Libération, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine have used the image online. The BBC showed it briefly during a newspaper review on Newsnight. In the US, the Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast and CBS News ran the cover but the New York Times did not. In Australia, the ABC showed the image of the cartoon on its 24-hour rolling news programme but with a warning to viewers. The Guardian is running this cover as its news value warrants publication.

Speaking on Monday Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer Richard Malka said that despite the deaths of nine contributors, including celebrated cartoonists known as Charb, Cabu and Wolinski, the magazine was created solely by members of the original team. They had declined offers from cartoonists around the world to contribute.

“We will not give in otherwise all this won’t have meant anything,” he told France Info radio on Monday, from the magazine’s heavily guarded temporary offices at Libération newspaper.

Luz, a Charlie cartoonist, said working on the issue was helping him and his colleagues. “We’re getting by. We are having fewer nightmares. We are trying to put a magazine together and find some calm and inspiration, it’s not easy.”

Speaking on Monday, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said that despite the deaths of nine contributors, including celebrated cartoonists Charb, Cabu and Wolinski, the magazine was created solely by members of the original team. They had declined offers from cartoonists around the world to contribute.

“We will not give in, otherwise all this won’t have meant anything,” he told France Info radio on Monday, from the magazine’s heavily guarded temporary offices at Libération newspaper.

Luz, a Charlie cartoonist, said working on the issue was helping him and his colleagues. He said: “We’re getting by. We are having fewer nightmares. We are trying to put a magazine together and find some calm and inspiration, it’s not easy.”