Charlie Hebdo survivors produce defiant edition a week after attack

Charlie Hebdo survivors produce defiant edition a week after attack

PARIS- The surviving staff of Charlie Hebdo will publish a defiant issue with a Prophet Mohammed cartoon on the cover Wednesday, a week after jihadist gunmen killed 12 people at the satirical weekly's Paris office.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday declared a "war against terrorism" and, amid a national outpouring of emotion, a packed parliament sang a stirring rendition of the national "Marseillaise" anthem, a first since the end of World War I.

The special sitting came after President Francois Hollande led a solemn ceremony paying tribute to three police officers killed in France's bloodiest week in decades, while four Jews who were shot dead in one of the attacks in Paris were laid to rest in Israel.

"Our great and beautiful France will never break, will never yield, never bend" in the face of the Islamist threat that is "still there, inside and outside" the country, Hollande told weeping families and uniformed colleagues at the ceremony.

Equally defiant, the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly where the first attack took place last Wednesday unveiled the cover of its latest edition showing a weeping Prophet Mohammed holding a sign saying "Je Suis Charlie" under the banner "All Is Forgiven".

The cartoon has already been reproduced by papers around the world ahead of Wednesday's publication.

"Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying," said cartoonist Renald Luzier, known as Luz, who escaped the attackers' bullets as he was late for work on the day they burst into an editorial meeting and mowed down the magazine's top staff.

"He is much nicer than the one followed by the gunmen." Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious centre of learning, warned that new cartoons would only serve to "stir up hatred".

The drawings "do not serve the peaceful coexistence between peoples and hinders the integration of Muslims into European and Western societies," the Cairo-based body's Islamic research centre said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egypt's state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, said the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo was "an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims".

"This edition will result in a new wave of hatred in French and Western society. What the magazine is doing does not serve coexistence and the cultural dialogue Muslims aspire to," it said.

But French Muslim groups urged their communities to "stay calm and avoid emotive reactions" to the depiction of Mohammed, which many see as sacrilegious.

The controversial weekly, which lampoons everyone from the president to the pope, has become a symbol of freedom of expression in the wake of the bloodshed.

This week it is preparing a print run of three million copies, compared with its usual 60,000.

Charlie Hebdo has also put out a call for funding. The French Press and Pluralism media association said over a million euros ($1.2 million dollars) in donations had been raised within days.

Isolate jihadist prisoners

France, home to Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim communities, was shaken to the core by the attack in which two gunmen killed 12 people in the assault on Charlie Hebdo, while a third killed a policewoman and took hostages at a Jewish supermarket where another four people died.

The supermarket killer, Amedy Coulibaly, and the Charlie Hebdo gunmen, Said and Cherif Kouachi - who were working together - were killed in quick succession in two police blitzes on Friday.

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