Charlie Hebdo lives.
The satirical French magazine reached this city’s newsstands right on time Wednesday morning, one week to the day after terrorists stormed its offices and killed 12 people, including its senior-most cartoonists.
Three million copies are to be distributed in France and other countries, a fifty-fold increase from the magazine’s typical weekly circulation of 60,000.
Sales figures were not immediately available, but several market kiosks and newsstands in Paris were sold out in the early morning hours, while others had dozens of people in line. Many vendors were limiting sales to one purchase per person.
“Charlie has a lot of new friends,” proclaims a letter on page two of the new issue.
The letter thanked the “millions” of supporters “who are really on our side, who sincerely and deeply ‘are Charlie,'” an invocation of the “I am Charlie” slogan that is now omnipresent in the French capital.
One of the cartoons in Wednesday’s issue is titled “Keep Calm and Charlie On,” a riff on the British saying “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Even some Parisians who despise the magazine’s secularist positions and sometimes vile cartoons say they’d like to buy a copy, as a statement against last week’s acts of terror.
The magazine’s cover is an illustration of a tearful Prophet Mohammed, holding up an “I am Charlie” sign accompanied by the words “All is forgiven.”
Cartoons of Mohammed are highly controversial in the Muslim world. The magazine’s past depictions of the prophet apparently motivated the attackers in last week’s slaughter.
The new cover was met with mixed emotions — some Muslims focused on the magazine’s right to free expression while others criticized it as needlessly provocative and blatantly offensive.
“I know that they’re probably publishing this cartoon to send a message to terrorists and say, ‘Look, we are not going to be intimidated.’ And that’s fine. That’s a message that we all need to send, that violence is not the answer here,” Omer El-Hamdoon, president of the Muslim Association of London, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday after the cover was released.
“But at the same time, it would be nice if they had been more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims, because” many Muslims “walked in the rally on Sunday,” El-Hamdoon said.