French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo might print 3 million copies of a special issue depicting the Prophet Muhammad on the cover. The massive run, which could wind up being 50 times more than its normal run of 60,000, is in response to the surge in demand following the recent attack on the publication’s headquarters by Islamist militants, which left a third of its journalists dead.
On January 7, militants burst into the office of Charlie Hebdo and shot five of its leading cartoonists dead. Over the next couple of days, a total of 17 people, including journalists and police, would die.
Now, Charlie Hebdo is ready to release the first, new copy of its publication post-attack. The cover of this most pivotal, timely edition will feature a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad, as he holds a sign that reads, “JE SUIS CHARLIE,” or “I am Charlie” below the headline “TOUT EST PARDONNE” or “All is forgiven.”
There will be an initial batch of one million copies that will become available on January 14 across the world in 16 different ,” languages.
Depending on demand, another two million may be printed.
“We have requests for 300,000 copies throughout the world – and demand keeps rising by the hour,” said Michel Salion, a spokesman for MPL, which distributes Charlie Hebdo. Salion also added that the newspaper usually only has 4,000 international clients. “The million will go. As of Thursday, the decision will probably be taken to print extra copies … So we’ll have one million, plus two if necessary.”
The Prophet Muhammad will be featured throughout the special edition, not just on the cover. Known for their satirical attacks on Islam and other religions, Charlie Hebdo will include cartoons of the Prophet, politicians, and more, according to Richard Malka, the magazine’s lawyer and spokesperson.
“This won’t be a tribute issue of some sort,” said Malka. “We will be faithful to the spirit of the newspaper: making people laugh.”