French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo is to publish a special edition, as a comic book biography of the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, adapted directly from the work of classical Muslim writers, described by its editor Charb as “perfectly halal”.
The magazine has previously courted controversy by published cartoons of Muhammad has been heavily criticised by the government, is at the centre of lawsuits from Muslim groups over incitement to hatred, but such editions increase circulation dramatically and have a reputation for selling out fast.
Charb’s justification is to educate people about the man so they can satirise him further. That while they know the life and teachings of Jesus well, they don’t have the same understanding of Mohammed. And that accusations that representing Muhammad visually is blasphemous, is based on Muslim tradition rather than the word of the Koran.
After Charlie Hebdo published a satirical special in 2011 called “Sharia Hebdo” their officed were burned, their website hacked and Charb received death threats, and has lived with police protection. It doesn’t seem to have blunted him much. He even suggest this publication be placed in schools by the government.