Charlie Hebdo republishes Prophet Mohammad cartoons

The 12 original cartoons appear on the front cover of the magazine’s latest issue.

Credit : Time

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday published again the controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, which were the cause of a terror attack on the magazine’s office in 2015. The cartoonists and 10 others were killed while five more died in related violence in Paris days later. The occasion for their re-printing the cartoons is that the 14 accused in the attack will be tried for helping the two terrorists involved in the assault on January 7, 2015, said a BBC report.

The 12 original cartoons appear on the front cover of the magazine’s latest issue. In a cartoon shows the prophet a bomb is replaced for a turban. Justifying the republication of the caricatures, Charlie Hebdo’s editorial states that there has been a popular demand to continue printing the prophet’s cartoons since the killings in 2015.

"We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited - the law allows us to do so - but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate," it says.

"To reproduce these cartoons in the week the trial over the January 2015 terrorist attacks opens seemed essential to us."

The accused are facing charges of procuring arms and giving logistical help to the attackers. They were also involved in the attacks on a Jewish supermarket and a cop. Three are facing the trial in absentia. They probably escaped to Syria and Iraq. Around 200 people have filed complaints in the trial while survivors would testify, said reports by France's RFI broadcaster.

The trial, which was supposed to begin in March delayed due to the pandemic. It may last for three months. The armed terrorist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi opened fire at the Charlie Hebdo offices and killed its editor Stéphane Charbonnier and four other cartoonists. The editor's bodyguard and a cop also died in the attack.

Later, the police gunned down the two brothers Another gunfight began later, in which an acquaintance of the two terrorists killed a woman cop and took several people hostage at a supermarket. He was also eliminated. However, he had already shot dead four Jewish men.

Charlie Hebdo's anti-establishment satire-poking fun at the far right, and aspects of Catholicism and Judaism as well as Islam - had long drawn controversy. The satirical's cartoons have also been in controversy for their blatant sexism and racism. But it was its portrayals of the Prophet Mohammed that led to death threats against the editorial team and a petrol bomb attack on its offices in 2011.

The then editor had emphatically justified the publication of the cartoons calling it symbolic of freedom of speech. "I don't blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings," he had told the AP in 2012. "I live under French law. I don't live under Koranic law."

The bloody attack on the magazine offices had triggered protests by thousands of people. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) was trending across the world.