Paris, France, Jan 14 – French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo returns to newsstands with a record run on Wednesday, but its first edition since Islamist gunmen massacred its staff has already drawn ire from Muslim groups.
The front cover shows a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), the slogan taken up by millions of supporters around the world after 12 people were gunned down in an attack on the magazine’s Paris offices.
France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities, was shaken to the core last week when jihadists took to Paris’s streets in an Islamist killing spree that left 17 people dead in the country’s bloodiest week in decades.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday declared a “war against terrorism” and a packed parliament sang a stirring rendition of the national “Marseillaise” anthem, a first since the end of World War I.
President Francois Hollande earlier led a solemn ceremony paying tribute to the three police officers who lost their lives in the attacks, while in Israel thousands turned out to mourn the four Jews killed during a siege in a kosher supermarket.
“Our great and beautiful France will never break, will never yield, never bend” in the face of the Islamist threat that is “still there, inside and outside” the country, Hollande told weeping families and uniformed colleagues of the victims.
Controversial weekly Charlie Hebdo, which lampoons everyone from the president to the pope, has become a symbol of freedom of expression in the wake of the bloodshed.
The magazine is planning to print up to three million copies of its “survivors’ issue” — profit from which will go to victims’ families — far more than its usual 60,000 and a historic record for a French publication.
“Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying,” said cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz, who designed the new front cover. “He is much nicer than the one followed by the gunmen.”
French and Italian versions will be printed, while translations in English, Spanish and Arabic will be offered in electronic form, editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said.
A Turkish version will also be published as an inset in the centre-left opposition daily Cumhuriyet, one of the Turkish paper’s journalists said, in what Biard described as “the most important” of all the foreign editions.
“Turkey is in a difficult period and secularity there is under attack,” he told AFP.