The editor of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper that was attacked in January, said the publication would not draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad anymore.
“We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever one wants,” the magazine’s top editor Laurent Sourisseau said in an interview with German magazine, Stern. “It is a bit strange though: we are expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to. We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature.”
His comments come six months after the Paris terrorist attack that shook the city on Jan. 7. At the time, the magazine and its staff were stormed by masked gunmen, later identified as sharing an allegiance to the Islamic State militant group, who left 12 people dead, including the top editor, Stephane Charbonnier, and cartoonists at the magazine. Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks and in a statement said they were carried out because of the paper’s cartoons of Muhammed, which were considered blasphemous.
“We still believe that we have the right to criticize all religions,” Sourisseau said in the recent interview. “The mistakes you could blame Islam for can be found in other religions.”
Sourisseau’s comments have been echoed by other Charlie Hebdo staffers. Back in April, Renald Luzier, the cartoonist who drew the famous cover published after the attack, which pictured a crying Muhammed with a sign reading “Tout est pardonné” or “All is forgiven,” said that drawing the prophet “no longer interests me.” He told French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, “I’ve got tired of it, just as I got tired of drawing [former French president Nicolas] Sarkozy. I’m not going to spend my life drawing them.” He left the magazine in May.