The cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's first issue since Islamic extremists killed 12 people at its offices will be a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed.
The prophet is depicted shedding a tear while holding a sign that says "Je Suis Charlie", the slogan which has become popular around the world as an identification of solidarity with the victims of the attack. A headline above reads "all is forgiven". It was drawn by the weekly journal's cartoonist Luz, who escaped the massacre because he was late arriving for work.
Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed the magazine's central Paris headquarters last Wednesday and murdered 12 — including its editor and four cartoonists— in the worst terrorist act committed on French soil in decades. The Kouachis said they wanted to avenge Charlie Hebdo's regular lampooning of the prophet.
Strict Muslims regard depictions of any prophet, including Muhammed, as blasphemous.
The eight-page issue was produced in the offices of French daily Libération, which has published an image of the forthcoming cover cartoon online, and a record three million copies will be printed in 16 languages.
The killings, coupled with attacks by another gunman linked with the brothers that left five dead, has shocked France and led to a mass outpouring of grief and solidarity that culminated in well over a million people gathering in the streets of Paris on Sunday for a unity march that officials said was the largest demonstration in French history.
Libération's Isabelle Hanne was present at Charlie Hebdo's first editorial meeting since the attack and reported that staff were determined to complete the issue with the original team and make a "normal" issue.
The magazine's regular satirical depictions of Muhammed have drawn the ire of extremist Muslims. Its offices were firebombed in 211 after it published one such caricature and now deceased editor, Stéphane Charbonnier is reported to have received recent death threats.
Editor in chief Gérard Biard told France Info radio on Monday that putting the issue together had been difficult. "We wondered how to stay the same, how to continue to laugh with an event that touched us so hard," he said.
Newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian have reproduced the new cover online. The French daily Le Monde has also, and the front page of its upcoming edition will include a cartoon of religious leaders reading a copy of the issue with Muhammed clearly visible, according to a tweet today from its assistant managing editor, Luc Bronner. Others, including The New York Times, have not.
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