Surviving Charlie Hebdo Journalist is ready to forgive killers

One of the surviving members of Charlie Hebdo’s staff said the cover of the first edition since the massacre should help “open the door to forgiveness” for the terrorists who killed her colleagues.

Zineb El Rhazoui insisted the team did not feel hatred towards the men and recognised “the struggle is with an ideology” as she spoke of the difficult task of injured and traumatised staff pulling together the issue.

And she said putting a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed into three million homes was an important way to show the spirit of the slain Charlie Hebdo journalists would not be silenced.

Ms El Rhazoui, who was overseas on holiday at the time of the attack on an editorial meeting, said the staff were “proud” of what they had produced in such difficult circumstances.

The front page of the new edition shows a tearful Mohammad with a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) below the headline: “Tout est pardonné” (All is forgiven).

Asked to whom the headline was addressed, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It is addressed to us because we feel we have to forgive what happened.

“I think those who have been killed, if they had been here they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to them, ask them why they have done this.

“We feel as the Charlie Hebdo team the need to forgive the two terrorists who killed our colleagues. We cannot feel any hate towards them,” she said.

With demand surging for the edition, the weekly planned printed more than three million copies, dwarfing its usual run of 60,000, after newsagents reported a rush of orders. International editions will be translated into 16 languages.

France has drafted in thousands of extra police and soldiers to provide security after 17 people were killed in three days of violence that began when two Islamist gunmen burst into Charlie Hebdo’s offices, opening fire in revenge for the paper’s publication of satirical images of Mohammad in the past.

The new edition of Charlie Hebdo includes other cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammad and also makes fun of politicians and other religions, its lawyer said.

There was no official reaction from the government on the new edition.

Egypt’s grand mufti warned Charlie Hebdo against publishing a new Mohammad caricature, saying it was a racist act that would incite hatred and upset Muslims around the world. French Muslim leaders urged their community to keep calm and respect the right to freedom of expression.


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