The picture on the cover of this issue is self-explanatory. We see that it reproduces cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, published in 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and which the weekly Charlie Hebdo republished in 2006, as well as the title page of issue 712 with drawings by cartoonist Jean Cabut.
The reasons for this explanation are as follows. These caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad now belong to history, and history can neither be rewritten nor erased. Muslims considered the publication of these drawings blasphemy, it became the motive for the massacre on January 7, committed by those who wanted to "avenge the prophet." This is what they shouted when leaving the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo.
So, these pictures are physical evidence. It was unacceptable for us not to explain to readers and citizens the essence of what happened before the start of the trial of the murderers. Because fourteen years have passed since 2006, and young French people born after those events will witness a trial, which will not be clear to them because these drawings have never been reprinted. Consequently, it is the duty of the media, which requires bringing to the attention of the public documents that have both historical and criminal value.
These drawings became part of history
After January 2015, we are often asked to create new cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. We have always refused this, but not because it is prohibited, the law allows us to do this, but because we needed a good reason that would make sense and would cause a desire to organize a debate. We considered it necessary to republish these cartoons on the eve of the start of the trial in the case of the terrorist attacks committed in January 2015. We would perceive all grounds against us as cowardice on the part of politicians or journalists. Do we want to live in a country that prides itself on being a great free and modern democracy while refusing to uphold its deepest convictions? This is unacceptable for us. Unless living in a different country, under a different regime, in a different world.