In a special edition laced with blasphemy, obscenity, and profanity, Charlie Hebdo’s surviving artists and writers declared that the satirical newspaper is alive, but “the murderer is still at large.”
The 32-page copy marking the anniversary of the Jan. 7 attack on the paper’s staff accuses Islamic fundamentalists, organized religion, an irresolute government and intelligence failures for the 2015 violence in France by Muslim extremists that started with that day, reported AP.
The publication will be accompanied by the headline ‘1 An Apres – L’Asssassin Court Toujors‘ (One Year On: The Assassin Is Still Out There).
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi forced their way into the building with assault rifles, killing 11 people and injuring 11 more. Upon leaving the building, they also shot dead a French police officer.
The pair shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great) during the assault and were later killed in a shoot-out with police during a stand-off on an industrial estate 30km northeast of Paris.
According to Sky News, one million copies of the anniversary edition featuring a collection of cartoons by five of the magazine’s cartoonists killed in the attack will be distributed for sale in French newsagents, with thousands more exported for sale overseas.
Laurent Sourisseau, the newspaper’s director who goes by the name Riss, drew the cover and wrote an editorial describing the horror he survived – and that took the lives of friends and colleagues. He described the newsroom’s silence moments after the two gunmen opened fire, saying that was how he knew his colleagues were dead.
Riss wrote that Islamic fanatics and other religious zealots wanted Charlie Hebdo’s secular journalists to pay the ultimate price “for daring to laugh at religion.” He insisted that the newspaper would remain alive because “never have we wanted so much to break the faces of those who dreamed of our deaths.”
The editorial “is violent and very insulting toward religion,” Abdallah Zekri, president of the Observatory against Islamophobia, told BFM television on Monday.
In a separate piece, chief editor Gerard Biard marveled that, although the Charlie Hebdo killings launched a global debate on the role of religion and free speech, no one even bothered to explain to the world why the attackers went after the kosher supermarket.
“We are so used to Jews being killed because they are Jewish,” he wrote. “This is an error, and not just on a human level. Because it’s the executioner who decides who is Jewish. Nov. 13 was the proof of that. On that day, the executioner showed us that he had decided we were all Jewish.”
Prior to the attack, the magazine’s employees received death threats for publishing cartoons featuring Mohammed, and its offices were firebombed in 2011.
Sales fell below 30,000 a week and the magazine was close to shutting down.
But the assault caused revulsion around the world and 7.5 million people bought the magazine’s post-attack issue in support of the idea that Islam should not be protected from satire.
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