October 20, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Charlie Hebdo republished the controversial cartoon before the first trial of the 2015 terrorist attacks

Charlie Hebdo republished the controversial cartoon before the first trial of the 2015 terrorist attacks

Charlie Hebdo, a French satirist whose offices in Paris were attacked by Islamic terrorists in 2015, reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, cited by the assassins, saying “history cannot be rewritten or erased”.

The announcement came Tuesday, two days after the first trial of the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the kosher supermarket.

Seventeen people were killed in the attack – 12 of them in editorial offices – along with three other attackers.

Thirteen men and a woman facing charges of providing weapons and logistics to the attackers are set to go on trial on Wednesday.

A glass box appears in the courtroom of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the trial of the shooting at the kosher supermarket in Paris. (Michelle Euler / The Associated Press)

In a cartoon editorial, the paper, known for its obscene absurdity, refuses to publish caricatures of Muhammad from the attacks, but it is necessary to do so at the beginning of the trial.

“The only possible reasons for not getting out of political or journalistic cowardice,” the editorial said.

The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a gathering of French-born brothers Sheriff and Syed Kouchi al-Qaeda. When they left the scene at Charlie Hebdo, they killed the wounded police officer and fled.

Two days later, their acquaintance broke into a kosher supermarket during the Jewish Sabbath, killing four hostages and loyal to the Islamic State group (ISIS). Amadi Koulibali, who attacked the supermarket, also killed a young female police officer.

People looking at flowers and messages near the statue at the Place de la Republic in Paris, France on January 6, 2016. The messages paid tribute to the victims of the January and November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. (Charles Platia / Reuters)

The cartoons, which were republished this week, were first published in 2006 by the Danish newspaper Zillands Posten, which sometimes sparked violent protests by Muslims who believed that portraying Muhammad was blasphemous. Charlie Hebdo, then largely unknown outside France and regularly satirized religious elders from various faiths, immediately republished them.

The paper’s Paris offices were set on fire in 2011 and its editorial leadership is still under police protection.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that it was not his place to judge the decision of the satirical magazine, adding that France had freedom of expression.

Laurent Sourisso, the paper’s director and one of the few survivors of the attack, named each victim in the preface to this week’s edition.

“Rare are those who, five years later, have the courage to oppose even more pressing demands from religions in general, and some in particular,” Sourisso wrote.

The three accused, including the wife of one of the attackers, will not be on trial because they are abroad and it is not known if they are alive or dead.

Most of the 11 people present in court said they knew it was a crime but were unaware of the massacre.

In January 2017, on the two-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Parisians read a plaque reading ‘I am Charlie’. (Ian Longsdon / EPA)

Among those inside the market was an employee named Lassana Batili who hid a group of Jewish customers in the store in a cold room and slipped in to warn police about a terrorist attack inside. Eleven days later, he was granted French citizenship. He was one of nearly 200 plaintiffs at trial.

The world rallied behind France in the days leading up to the killings. Leaders around the world have joined millions of people with signs of contempt reading “I am Charlie” at the enormous Republic Plaza in Paris and other conference venues in France.

This trial, which is rare in France, reserved for historic import activities, is portrayed as hereditary.

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