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Charlie Hebdo editor says the paper is done with prophet Muhammad cartoons

imrsCharlie Hebdo editor Laurent Sourisseau speaks at the 10th Investigative Journalism International Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 4. (Carlos Villalba R./EPA)

The top editor and publisher of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French newspaper that suffered a deadly terrorist attack in January, said the publication would no longer draw the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have garnered it worldwide notoriety.

“We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever one wants,” said Laurent Sourisseau, in an interview this week with Stern, a German magazine.

But Sourisseau, who goes by the cartoonist nickname “Riss,” said that it was not Charlie Hebdo’s intent to be “possessed” by its critique of Islam. “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions,” he said.

On Jan. 7, two Islamist militants stormed Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices, killing 12 of its journalists, including some of its top editors and cartoonists. According to statements made later by al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which claimed responsibility for the attack, they were punishing the newspaper for its mocking depiction of Muhammad, images of whom are considered blasphemous in Islam.

The aftermath of the tragedy placed the controversial publication at the center of the global debate over the right to freedom of speech. Millions around the world who had likely never picked up a copy of Charlie Hebdo embraced the slogan “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with its murdered staff.

Charlie Hebdo’s first cover after the attack featured an image of a weeping Muhammad beneath a sign that read “Tout est pardonné,” or “All is forgiven.” The issue sold an unprecedented 8 million copies.


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