Charlie Hebdo will no longer depict caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, says the magazine’s top editor. The Washington Post reported that the infamous French satire magazine came to this decision following the emotional aftermath of the January 7 terrorist attack. On that day, two Islamic militants stormed the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and began shooting. Twelve people were killed.
— RT (@RT_com) July 19, 2015
Initially, Charlie Hebdo took a defiant stance. The very first issue after the horrific incident featured a weeping Muhammad holding up a “Je Suis Charlie” sign. But attitudes have changed in the months since. A cartoonist who survived the terrorist incident left Charlie Hebdo in May. Renald Luzier, known professionally as “Luz,” was the man behind the first Charlie Hebdo drawing following the shooting.
However, Luz said that he no longer had any interest in drawing The Prophet or dealing with having to replace so many of his fallen colleagues.
“The time came when it was just all too much to bear. There was next to nobody to draw the cartoons. I ended up doing three or every four front-pages. Each issue is torture because the others are gone. Spending sleepless nights summoning the dead, wondering what Charb, Cabu, Honore, Tignous would have done is exhausting.”
The mental and emotional toll on those who survived the January attack could partially explain why Charlie Hebdo won’t post any more pictures of Muhammad. That aside, editor Laurent Sourisseau stated in an interview that the magazine had nothing else to prove on the free speech front.
“We’ve done our job,” said Sourisseau. “We have defended the right to caricature.”
The tragic deaths of the journalist at the hands of Islamic extremists touched off a firestorm of controversy over free speech. Some wondered if provoking Muslims willing to die (or kill) for their religion was a wise use of freedom of expression. Others felt that the freedom to criticize religions however they see fit must
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) July 19, 2015
For the survivors who continued to work for Charlie Hebdo, mocking Muhammad in any way became something of a sore point. At least now the pictures of the religious figure are banned from future Charlie Hebdo magazines. Some observers view this as a surrender. Despite the ban on Mohammad images, the top editor insists that the Charlie Hebdo magazine will continue to criticize Islam and other religions.
Do you think Charlie Hebdo is right to stop publishing caricatures of Muhammad? Share your thoughts below!
[Image Credit: flickr]