French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will mark the opening of a terror trial over the 2015 attack on their offices by reprinting the disparaging Prophet Mohammed cartoons that had sparked the outrage. The decision to re-publish the drawings, which were considered blasphemous by many Muslims, was announced by the magazine in an editorial on Tuesday.
Twelve people, including eight employees of the magazine, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherie Kouachi stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters. Al-Qaeda’s branch in the Arabian Peninsula had claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying it was revenge for the cartoons the magazine had published of Prophet Mohammed.
The attacks set off weeks of unrest leading to the deaths of 17 more people in the ensuing days, after a Jewish supermarket was also targeted. Fourteen people accused of supporting the terror attack will go on trial in Paris on Wednesday.
The cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo shows a dozen cartoons first published by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, which Charlie Hebdo had in turn republished in 2006, AFP reported. In the centre of the cover is a cartoon of the Prophet drawn by its cartoonist Jean Cabut, who was killed in the 2015 attack. “All of this, just for that,” the front-page headline says.
“We will never lie down,” Charlie Hebdo Director Laurent Sourisseau wrote in an editorial to go with the republication of the cartoons in its latest edition. “We will never give up.”
The editorial team of the magazine said the cartoons were now a part of history, and “history cannot be rewritten, nor can it be erased”. The team said that reproducing these caricatures this week “seemed essential”.
“We have often been asked since January 2015 to print other caricatures of Mohammed,” it added. “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.”