In 2015 a bloody shooting spree at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, highlighted again how radical Islam cannot take a joke, and will in fact massacre human beings over an image or piece of writing.
Now, in an act of defiance, that magazine has said it will republish the same cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed that sparked the killings, to mark the start of the trial arising from the 2015 attack. This trial concerns the alleged accomplices of three men involved the attack.
Some of the magazine’s best-known cartoonists were among a dozen people killed when Said and Cherif Kouachi opened fire in its Paris offices. The brothers and a prison acquaintance killed five people in the 48 hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and were eventually shot dead by police in separate standoffs.
According to Sky News, the magazine said in an editorial this week that the drawings “belong to history, and history cannot be rewritten nor erased.” The same images were used in 2006, a year after they were first published by a Danish newspaper.
There were online warnings at the time from jihadis that the magazine would suffer for the publication of the images. For Muslims any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.
The republishing of the cartoons is therefore a provocative act in the name of free expression, though some will give the gunmen what they ultimately sought and urge no defamation of their prophet.