Charlie Hebdo set to publish prophet cartoon in new issue

French Muslim groups called for calm and respect for freedom of opinion ahead of the release

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The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo is set to publish a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad on the cover of its first issue since Islamist militants killed 12 people at its offices last week, as French Muslim groups called for calm ahead of the release.

The newspaper Liberation hosted Charlie Hebdo staff as they prepared the new issue and is handling its special 1 million-copy print run in numerous languages, the Associated Press reported.

Liberation published the Charlie Hebdo cover online late Monday night, ahead of the satirical magazine’s publication on Wednesday.

Charlie Hebdo’s past caricatures of the Muslim prophet appear to have prompted last week’s attacks, part of the worst terrorist rampage in France in decades.

Some witnesses reported that the attackers at the paper’s offices shouted “We have avenged the prophet.” Many Muslims believe all images of the prophet are blasphemous.

Muslim call for calm

French Muslim groups called for calm and respect for freedom of opinion on Tuesday ahead of the release of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The French Council of the Muslim Religion and the Union of French Islamic Organizations released a joint statement calling for the Muslim community to “stay calm and avoid emotive reactions that are incompatible with its dignity ... while respecting freedom of opinion.”

Depictions of the Prophet Mohammad are seen by many Muslims as sacrilegious and Charlie Hebdo became a target for extremists after repeatedly printing cartoons of the prophet.

A total of 17 people died in last week’s attacks. Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi and their friend, Amedy Coulibaly, were killed Friday by police after the murderous spree at Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket. The three all claimed ties to Islamic extremists in the Middle East.


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