Charlie Hebdo Attacks: Magazine to Republish Controversial Cartoons as Terror Trial Begins

Written by | Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

As 13 men and women are to stand trial for providing the two shooters with material and logistical support for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre, the director of the French satirical magazine pledged to “never give up.” “We will never lie down. We will never give up,” Laurent Riss” Sourisseau wrote in the latest edition of the magazine on Tuesday (2 September), announcing that Charlie Hebdo would republish controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed to mark the beginning of a highly-anticipated trial. The cartoons were originally published in 2005 by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and reprinted a year later by the French satirical publication, triggering widespread anger in the Muslim world.
“We have often been asked since January 2015 to print other caricatures of Mohammed,” said a Charlie Hebdo editorial published in this week’s edition. “We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited — the law allows us to do so — but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate.” Twelve people were killed in the initial attack, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists. Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi claimed the attack in the name of al-Qaeda, describing it as revenge for the publication of the controversial caricatures. As the brothers left the offices, they cried out: “We have avenged the Prophet.” In the wake of the 2015 attacks, Charlie Hebdo published an image of the Prophet Mohammed holding a placard that said “Je suis Charlie” — French for “I am Charlie” — beneath the headline: “Everything is forgiven.”
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday (2 September) it was not up to him to pass judgment on the satirical magazine’s decision to publish a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, while defending citizens’ right to freedom of speech. Speaking during a visit to Lebanon, Macron said it was important for French citizens to be respectful to each other, and avoid a “dialogue of hate” but he would not criticize the satirical magazine’s decision to republish the cartoon. “There is in France a freedom to blaspheme which is attached to the freedom of conscience. I am here to protect all these freedoms. In France, one can criticize a president, governors, blaspheme,” he said.

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