A French weekly known for publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed to the ire of conservative Muslims said Sunday it plans to release a comic book biography of Islam’s founder that will be researched and educational.
Satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has on several occasions depicted Islam’s prophet in an effort to defend free speech and defy the anger of Muslims who believe depicting Mohammed is sacrilegious.
“It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims,” said Charlie Hebdo’s publisher and the comic’s illustrator, who goes by the name Charb.
“I don’t think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate,” Charb said.
The biography will be published Wednesday and was put together by a Franco-Tunisian researcher known only as Zineb, Charb said.
The publisher said the idea for the comic book came to him in 2006 when a newspaper in Denmark published cartoons of Mohammed, later republished by Charlie Hebdo, drawing angry protests across the Muslim world.
“Before having a laugh about a character, it’s better to know him. As much as we know about the life of Jesus, we know nothing about Mohammed,” Charb said.
In September Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film made in the United States that insults the prophet.
In 2011 Charlie Hebdo’s offices were hit by a firebomb and its website pirated after publishing an edition titled “Charia Hebdo” featuring several Mohammed cartoons.
Charb, who has received death threats, lives under police protection.