Defiant Charlie back on news-stands

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The first edition of controversial French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will go on sale today, a week after the bloody attack on its offices that marked the start of a killing spree that was one of France’s worst terrorist atrocities.

The new magazine carries a cartoon of a crying Prophet Mohammed on its front cover in defiance of the gunmen who slaughtered 12 people at its Paris offices, including a police officer, over its depictions of the Islamic spiritual leader.

Three million copies of the magazine have been printed, its largest ever run, with translations into English, Spanish and Arabic and versions available in Italy and Turkey.

It comes the day after funerals in Paris and Jerusalem for some of the 17 people killed in the terror attacks, including the three police officers gunned down. French president Francois Hollande told mourners at the officers’ funeral: “They died so that we can live free.”

Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said the latest edition had been “drawn up in pain and joy”.

He told a press conference in Paris yesterday: “We’re happy to have got to it and it’s been tough.

“The main story was complicated because, of course, it had to say something about us, and it had to say something about the event we were faced with. This edition – the whole of Charlie Hebdo is in it. This edition is Charlie Hebdo.”

The magazine shows the Prophet Mohammed against a green background with a tear streaming down his cheek, holding a sign reading Je Suis Charlie – the I Am Charlie rallying cry that has been used as a show of unity in the wake of the attacks.

The headline carries the phrase Tout Est Pardonne (All Is Forgiven), which French media have interpreted to mean Mohammed is forgiving the cartoonists for lampooning him.

Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renald “Luz” Luzier told the press conference he had drawn Mohammed as a “man who is crying”.

“We are cartoonists and we like drawing little characters, just as we were as children,” he said.

“The terrorists, they were kids, they drew just like we did, just like all children do. At one point they lost their sense of humour. At one point they lost the soul of their child which allowed them to look at the world with a certain distance.

“I’m sorry we’ve drawn him yet again but the Mohammed we’ve drawn is a man who is crying.”

David Cameron said last night Britain was at risk from a group of people who believed in a “fanatical death cult” of Islamic extremism.

Interviewed on Heart radio, the Prime Minister said he was not surprised that Charlie Hebdo had published an image of the prophet in its new issue, and other publications were free to do so.

“In a free country with free expression, it is perfectly clear – you can be offended sometimes,” Mr Cameron said.

“There will be many Muslims who are offended by a depiction of the prophet. But being offended by something is not a justification for violence.

“The overwhelming majority of Muslims completely understand and agree with that view.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended the cover as part of an “ideological struggle” to maintain a free society and suggested he could be among those snapping up a copy of the magazine.

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary described the latest depiction of Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo as an attempt to “incite Muslims even more”.

The exact number of copies of the magazine that will be on sale in the United Kingdom is not yet known.

Wholesalers Smiths News, Comag and Menzies Distribution said they would be distributing it.

But retailer WH Smith said that it would not be selling the magazine as it does not usually stock the title.

In a solemn ceremony in Paris yesterday morning, Mr Hollande saluted the “courage, the bravery, the dignity” of Franck Brinsolaro, Ahmed Merabet and Clarissa Jean-Philippe, the three police officers killed on January 7 and 8.

The other dead included four hostages killed later in a kosher supermarket, who have been remembered this morning at funerals in Israel.

Seventeen people were killed in a two-day spree launched by fundamentalist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and their friend Amedy Coulibaly.

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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