Charlie Hebdo: Magazine to republish Prophet Mohammed cartoons as attack trial begins
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has said it will republish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to mark the start of the trial into the 2015 attack on its offices.
It announced they would re-appear as a trial of alleged accomplices of three men involved the attack begins.
Some of the magazine’s best-known cartoonists were among 12 people killed when Said and Cherif Kouachi opened fire in its offices.
The brothers and a prison acquaintance of theirs, who killed five people in the 48 hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, were eventually shot dead by police in separate standoffs.
Fourteen of their alleged accomplices go on trial on Wednesday.
Charlie Hebdo said republishing the images for the start of the trial was necessary, and that the “only reasons not to, stem from political or journalistic cowardice”.
“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau wrote.
The images include one of Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding.
In an editorial accompanying the pictures this week, the paper said the drawings “belong to history, and history cannot be rewritten nor erased”.
Charlie Hebdo used the same images in 2006, a year after they were first published by a Danish newspaper.
There were warnings at the time from jihadists online that the magazine would pay for the publication of the images. For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
The decision to republish the cartoons will be seen by some as a defiant gesture in defence of free expression, but others may see it as yet another provocation by a magazine that has long courted controversy with its satirical attacks on religion.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith tweeted in response: “The freedom to caricature and the freedom to dislike them are enshrined and nothing justifies violence.”
In 2007, a French court rejected accusations by Islamic groups that the publication incited hatred against Muslims after they claimed the turban cartoon branded all Muslims terrorists.
The groups said another Charlie Hebdo cartoon also did, after it showed the Prophet reacting to Islamic militants by saying: “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.”
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