Less than a week after gunmen murdered 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the satirical magazine has released the cover of its latest issue. It features a drawing of the Prophet Muhammed shedding a tear and holding a sign with the words “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), a slogan representing a cry of support for free speech in the aftermath of the attacks. Above Muhammed are the words “Tout Est Pardonné” (“All is forgiven”).
Three million copies of the new edition will be printed, compared to its normal 60,000-copy print run.
At a press conference Tuesday, cartoonist Renald Luzier, or “Luz,” explained how the cover came to be:
I wrote “I am Charlie,” and he [editor-in-chief Gerard Biard] cried. Then I wrote “All is forgiven,” and I cried too. And then we had it—we had our front page.
Prior to the attacks, the magazine regularly published images of the Prophet Muhammed, which are considered blasphemous by some Muslims. Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, told French radio there would “naturally” be more.
“The Charlie state of mind is the right to blaspheme,” he said.
Not everyone agreed. British radical cleric Anjem Choudary called the cover “an act of war” and said, “It’s not just a cartoon, it’s insulting, it’s ridiculing, it’s provoking.”
He added: “And I’m sure there’s someone somewhere who will take the law into his own hands. It’s inevitable.”