With Prophet Muhammad on cover, Charlie Hebdo edition sold out within minutes in France
Days after witnessing a massacre, satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was back on newsstands across France on Wednesday.
Paris: Days after witnessing a massacre, satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was back on newsstands across France on Wednesday.
The first issue of the magazine to be published since a jihadist attack decimated its editorial staff last week was sold out within minutes.
In a bid to match the overwhelming demand, the magazine has decided to print five million copies of this week`s issue. That dwarfs its usual 60,000 print run.
"The editor decided this morning to increase the print run to five million," said Veronique Faujour, head of press distribution firm MLP. That is two million more copies than initially planned in the wake of the jihadist attack.
"It was incredible. I had a queue of 60-70 people waiting for me when I opened," said a woman working at a newspaper kiosk in Paris.
"I`ve never seen anything like it. All my 450 copies were sold out in 15 minutes."
The new Charlie Hebdo issue has sold out across France just hours after it hit newsstands, the UNDP union representing news vendors throughout the country said.
A total of 700,000 issues of the magazine were distributed early this morning.
The new issue features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover, holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven".
It has already drawn ire from Muslim groups in some countries that oppose depictions of Islam`s founder.
The profit from the sale of "survivors` issue" will go to victims` families.
"Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying," said cartoonist Luz, who designed the new front cover. "He is much nicer than the one followed by the gunmen."
New copies are expected to reach newsstands across France in the coming days.
French and Italian versions will be printed, while translations in English, Spanish and Arabic will be offered in electronic form, editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said.
A Turkish version will also be published as an inset in the centre-left opposition daily Cumhuriyet, one of the Turkish paper`s journalists said, in what Biard described as "the most important" of all the foreign editions.
"Turkey is in a difficult period and secularity there is under attack," he told a news agency. But the cartoon has already drawn ire from Muslim groups, who warned that it could inflame tensions among those who believe the depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.
Controversial weekly Charlie Hebdo, which lampoons everyone from the president to the pope, has become a symbol of freedom of expression in the wake of the bloodshed.
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.
Egypt`s state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, said the cover 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," it said.
French Muslim groups also urged their communities -- which have already been targeted -- to "stay calm and avoid emotive reactions" to the cartoon.
France, home to Europe`s largest Jewish and Muslim communities, was shaken to the core last week when jihadists took to Paris`s streets in an Islamist killing spree that left 17 people dead in the country`s bloodiest week in decades.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday declared a "war against terrorism" and a packed Parliament sang a stirring rendition of the national "Marseillaise" anthem, a first since the end of World War I.
President Francois Hollande earlier led a solemn ceremony paying tribute to the three police officers who lost their lives in the attacks, while in Israel thousands turned out to mourn the four Jews killed during a siege in a kosher supermarket.
"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 of the victims.
France`s Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in a speech that drew several standing ovations, called for the country to pull together after the attack, arguing that "France is at war against terrorism, jihadism, radicalism... (not) Islam and Muslims".
"I don`t want Jews in this country to be scared, or Muslims to be ashamed" of their faith, he added, calling for France`s intelligence capabilities and anti-terrorism laws to be strengthened and "clear failings" addressed.
Questions have risen over how supermarket killer Amedy Coulibaly and the Charlie Hebdo gunmen, Said and Cherif Kouachi -- who were known to French intelligence had been on a US terror watch list "for years" -- had slipped through the cracks.
Underlining the ongoing threat, France`s biggest satirical weekly, "Le Canard Enchaine", said it received a death threat the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack. The outpouring of shock and grief that has united France and saw some four million people march across the country on Sunday, continued on Tuesday as several victims were buried.
At the main police headquarters in Paris, a grim-faced Hollande laid the country`s highest decoration, the Legion d`Honneur, on the coffins of the three fallen police officers draped in the Tricolore.
Two were killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the policewoman was gunned down by Coulibaly the next day at the scene of a car accident in which he was involved. Many believe he was on his way to attack a Jewish school nearby.
"They died so that we could live in freedom," Hollande said.
The French attacks have sent shockwaves through Europe and beyond.
German President Joachim Gauck told his country`s Muslim community on Tuesday that "we are all Germany" at a rally by 10,000 people to condemn the Paris jihadist attacks and take a stand against rising Islamophobia.
European Union counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove told a news agency that jails had become "massive incubators" of radicalisation and there was no way to fully shield against such attacks.
Coulibaly, a repeat offender, met Cherif Kouachi in prison where they both fell under the spell of a renowned jihadist.
While the Kouachis have been linked to the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Coulibaly claimed to have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.
To ease fears in a nation still jittery after its worst attacks in half a century, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that some 10,000 troops will be deployed to protect sensitive sites.
(With AFP inputs)