French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is republishing caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed, which unleashed a wave of anger in the Muslim world, to mark the start of the trial of alleged accomplices in the militant attack against it 2015.
- Twelve people were killed when gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo in 2015
- For Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous
- In 2007, a French court rejected accusations that the publication incited hatred against Muslims
On Tuesday (local time), French President Emmanuel Macron said it was not his place to pass judgment on the decision to re-publish the cartoons, saying France has freedom of expression.
Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, is one of Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding.
When they were first published, the cartoons unleashed a wave of anger in the Muslim world. For Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.
“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” editor Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau wrote in a piece to accompany the front cover that will be published in print on Wednesday.
Twelve people, including some of the magazine’s best-known cartoonists, were killed when Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo and sprayed the building with automatic gunfire.
The Kouachi brothers and a third Islamist gunman, who killed five people in the 48 hours that followed the Charlie Hebdo massacre, were shot dead by police in different stand-offs, but 14 of their alleged accomplices go on trial on Wednesday.
The decision to republish the cartoons is being hailed by some as a defiant gesture in defence of free expression.
But others may see it as a renewed provocation by a magazine that has long courted controversy with its satirical attacks on religion.
Mr Macron, speaking on a visit to Lebanon, said it was incumbent on French citizens to show civility and respect for each other, and avoid a “dialogue of hate”.
“It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press,” Mr Macron said.
After the 2006 publication of the cartoons, Jihadists online warned the weekly would pay for its mockery.
Muslims have previously said the turban cartoon branded all Muslims as terrorists, as did a Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing the prophet reacting to Islamist militants by saying: “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.”
In 2007, a French court rejected accusations by Islamic groups that the publication incited hatred against Muslims.