No more Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons, says Charlie Hebdo editor

Published July 19, 2015
Laurent Sourisseau had survived the January massacre at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris by playing dead. — AFP/file
Laurent Sourisseau had survived the January massacre at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris by playing dead. — AFP/file

Six months after hooded gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) and killed at least 16 people including staff members and two cops, the incumbent editor, Laurent Sourisseau, has said in an interview that more cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) will not be drawn, according to a report published on the Deutsche Welle website.

The editor told the Hamburg-based news magazine "Stern" that, "We have drawn Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. It is a bit strange though: we are expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to."

Read: 12 dead in shooting at Paris offices of satirical magazine

Sourisseau, who survived the massacre carried out by two Muslim brothers, said the magazine had done what it set out to do.

"We've done our job. We have defended the right to caricature," he said.

"We still believe that we have the right to criticise all religions," said the editor who owns 40 per cent of the company's shares.

In the interview, he also said that Islam is not the only religion the magazine was critical of. "The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions," the editor of the weekly satirical magazine further said.

Many people around the world had defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in the wake of the massacre by Islamic extremists at its Paris offices and subsequent attack on a kosher supermarket in which three gunmen killed 17 people earlier in January this year.

Also read: Anonymous burial for Charlie Hebdo attacker despite objections

Both attackers of the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris were killed in a subsequent shootout with France's elite police personnel.

Charlie Hebdo initially gained notoriety in Feb 2006 when it reprinted sacrilegious cartoons that had originally appeared in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The cartoons set off a wave of violence in the Middle East which claimed 50 lives.

Its offices were fire-bombed in Nov 2011 when it published an objectionable sketch. Despite being taken to court under anti-racism laws, the weekly continued to publish controversial cartoons.

While the attack in Paris had sparked had global outrage, dozens of people in Afghanistan and Peshawar had also paid tribute to the brothers who carried out the murders.

Muslims believe all images of the prophet (PBUH) are blasphemous.

Also read: Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There are limits to free expression

The Vatican and four prominent French imams had also issued a joint declaration that denounced the attacks but also urged the media to treat religions with respect.

In a statement issued after the attacks Pope Francis had said there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone's faith.

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