The cover of the next Charlie Hebdo features a cartoon of Mohammed holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the headline “Tout est Pardonné” (“All Is Forgiven”), which is a little confusing. Who, exactly, is forgiving whom?
According to Charlie Hebdo columnist Zineb El Rhazoui, the drawing is a call to forgive gunmen Chérif and Saïd Kouachi — not, say, a depiction of the Muslim prophet forgiving the newspaper for its offensive cartoons. From the BBC:
“We feel that we have to forgive what happened. I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this … We feel at the Charlie Hebdo team that we need to forgive.”
She added: “The two terrorists who killed our colleagues, we cannot feel any hate … The mobilisation that happened in France after this horrible crime must open the door to forgiveness. Everyone must think about this forgiveness.”
El Rhazoui adds that the cover was not intended as an attack on Muslims in general, saying, “We don’t feel any hate to them. We know that the struggle is not with them as people, but the struggle is with an ideology.” Those who are offended by the illustration of Mohammed (which is forbidden by some branches of Islam) “are not obliged to buy this edition of Charlie Hebdo if they don’t appreciate our work.” It hits newsstands on Wednesday.