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Muslim world critical as new Charlie Hebdo sells out

Magazine hard to find in Paris and elsewhere

A woman read the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday.
A woman read the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday.Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

PARIS — Charlie Hebdo’s first post-attack cartoons sparked a police search in Turkey and drew criticism from Iran as people lined up in Paris to buy copies of the issue featuring the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.

The magazine shows a cartoon of Mohammed, crying, against a green background, holding a board saying: ‘‘Je suis Charlie’’ or ‘‘I am Charlie.’’ Above his image are the words ‘‘All is Forgiven.’’ As many as 5 million copies of the special issue are being printed a week after the deadliest attacks in Paris claimed the lives of 17 people — including a third of the journalists at the satirical weekly.


After millions of people in Paris and other European capitals marched in recent days to show support for the victims and defend the freedom of expression, the reaction in Iran and Turkey shows how the Paris attacks are becoming politicized in parts of the Muslim world.

If you took a poll in Muslim nations such as Jordan, there would ‘‘probably be overwhelming opposition to the Paris attacks AND overwhelming opposition to the right to blaspheme,’’ Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said on Twitter.

Turkish police searched trucks carrying the Cumhuriyet newspaper, which published some of the cartoons. Blockades were set at its offices in Istanbul as a security precaution. Mayor Melih Gokcek of Ankara, from the country’s ruling Justice and Development Party, accused Cumhuriyet via his Twitter account Tuesday of attempting to be provocative.

‘‘Don’t fall into Cumhuriyet’s trap,’’ he said. ‘‘They are aiming to provoke an attack against them and depict Muslims as aggressors to the world.’’

In Tehran, the Iranian foreign ministry condemned the new Charlie Hebdo issue.

Iran ‘‘condemns terrorism anywhere in the world,’’ because it is ‘‘against Islam’s teachings,’’ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in Tehran. ‘‘On the other hand, we disapprove of provocative moves and this weekly’s undertaking is insulting and will provoke the feelings of Muslims.’’


Meanwhile in Paris, copies of the magazine were sold out across much of the city.

‘‘I only had four copies,’’ said Patricia, a kiosk manager at Avenue Victor Hugo in the 16th arrondissement who didn’t give her last name. ‘‘I’m very disappointed. I already had orders from 83 people. I would have needed at least 400 copies.’’

Bids for the edition were running as high as $14,100 on eBay Inc.’s French site. In the United Kingdom, where newsagents expect copies on Friday, eBay bids were as high as $1,518. In the United States, the magazine was selling for as much as $600 and one seller was offering it for as much as $14,672. Some earlier editions of the magazine are going for as much as $35,000 on eBay’s French site.

This week’s magazine hit newsstands worldwide in 16 languages Wednesday. Distribution of the copies will continue over the coming days. In addition to Mohammed and Pope Francis, the latest edition carried caricatures of the nine Charlie Hebdo journalists who died in the attacks.

In London, Anjem Choudary, a British Muslim activist suspected of promoting terrorism, said in an interview with the Independent newspaper Tuesday that the latest edition was an ‘‘act of war.’’ Choudary has been affiliated with the outlawed Al-Muhajiroun network and was released on bail in September.

British newsagents were stocking up on the magazine all the same. Navin Bhuptani ordered 30 copies of Charlie Hebdo for his Goswell News shops after a number of customers requested it. He expects the issues, which will retail for about $5 each, to be delivered by distributor Smiths News on Friday.


‘‘I’ve had a lot of demand for Charlie Hebdo,’’ said Bhuptani, 64. ‘‘Usually this type of demand has happened when a new royal is born, or when Princess Diana passed.’’

Goswell News, situated in London’s financial district, sells more than 100 magazines and newspapers from across the globe each week, with titles including Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine and Arabic newspaper Al Hayat.

Bhuptani said he’s not worried about security and trusts his magazine distributor Smiths News for guidance. A Smiths News spokeswoman confirmed the distributor is carrying the title but declined to say how many or when it will arrive in Britain.

Charlie Hebdo has been published every Wednesday for the past 22 years. Religion, sex, death, politicians — nothing and no one has been off-limits.

Five of its best-known cartoonists — who went by the pen names Charb, Honore, Cabu, Wolinski, and Tignous — were among those killed in the shootings. Four members of the magazine’s newsroom are still in the hospital.