Renald Luzier, also known as “Luz,” is the French cartoonist for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo who escaped dying at the hands of jihadists terrorists by oversleeping the day his magazine’s headquarters office was attacked. As one of the few surviving members of the magazine’s senior leadership, he is responsible for the first Charlie Hebdo cover since the slaughter and explained in a press conference why Muhammad needed to appear on the magazine again.
“The only idea left was to draw Muhammad,” he told media at a press conference to announce the latest issue, released Wednesday. Explaining the process by which he drew the image, which features a crying Muhammad holding up a sign that reads, “I am Charlie,” he explained, “I looked at him, he was crying. Then above, I wrote ‘All is Forgiven,’ then I cried.”
Luzier explained that he was proud of his artwork because “this was not the front page the world wanted us to draw, it was our front page.” Nor was it “the front page that the terrorists wanted us to draw, as there are no terrorists in it. Just a man who cries. A fellow who cries. It’s Muhammad.”
He apologized for any offense readers might take at seeing an image of Muhammad, but he explained, “The Muhammad we drew is a fellow who is crying, above all.”
The current issue is expected to circulate five million copies after an initial release of three million copies sold out in record time. Copies are selling for up to 200 times its retail price on online markets like eBay. In the press conference Tuesday, Charlie Hebdo‘s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, announced that the issue would be translated into English, Spanish, and Arabic and would be on shelves for two weeks. The magazine fully expects to continue regular weekly publishing at that time.
The cover was released after the magazine’s attorney responded to questions about the new edition’s content, stating that, “obviously,” Muhammad would appear on the cover. Reports from those who have read the new issue note that its content does not shy away from the information that initially triggered a backlash from radical Islamists. The magazine includes a satirical piece on the Islamic State, the terrorist group that has captured large areas of land in Syria and Iraq, “crude sexual content” involving the Pope, and a message to those who have not defended Charlie Hebdo‘s rights to free speech to “go f*** themselves.” The magazine also mocked the fact that the bells of the famed Notre Dame cathedral rang in honor of their magazine.