One year since a shooting attack at its Paris office killed 11, French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will print a controversial cover naming God as the culprit.
The cover image of the special edition, which will be available in France on Wednesday, features a bearded man representing God holding a Kalashnikov rifle. Accompanying text reads, “One year on: The assassin is still out there.”
Thursday, January 7 will mark one year since two Muslim brothers carried out a horrific terror attack on the magazine’s office, killing eight members of its staff and three others with assault rifles. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the massacre, which it said was in revenge for the magazine publishing a portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in 2011.
The magazine is known for its controversial anti-religious sentiments, and has particularly focused on Islam in recent years, which has seriously angered Muslims. In 2011, its offices were firebombed in response to the cartoon of Muhammad on its cover.
A year later, after Charlie Hebdo published another series of satirical cartoons about the Islamic prophet, riot police surrounded the office to protect it from possible attacks. In 2013, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier was put on al-Qaeda’s most wanted list.
However, Charlie Hebdo refused to succumb to Muslim terror or back down from its stances. Indeed, the very first post-attack issue that the magazine published featured an illustration of Muhammed on the cover, holding a sign reading “Je Suis Charlie”, which became a viral rallying cry worldwide in support of the magazine.
The magazine, whose circulation received a significant boost after the attacks, remains defiant against its enemies and detractors. An editorial in Wednesday’s special edition, written by cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau, who was seriously wounded in last year’s attack, roundly denounces Islamic “fanatics brutalized by the Koran”.
The editorial also targets critics from other religions who hoped the magazine would close because it is “daring to laugh at the religious”.
One million copies of the special edition will be for available for purchase on newsstands throughout France, with tens of thousands of additional copies being sent overseas. In addition to the controversial cover, the issue will also include a tribute to the terror victims: a collection of cartoons by the five Charlie Hebdo artists who were killed in last year’s attack.