In Depth

Charlie Hebdo cartoonist will no longer draw Mohammed

'I'm not going to spend my life drawing pictures of the prophet', says Luz, 'he no longer interests me'

The French cartoonist who penned the iconic Charlie Hebdo cover after the deadly attacks in Paris has said he will no longer draw caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"He no longer interests me" Renald Luzier, or Luz, told French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. "I've got tired of it, just as I got tired of drawing Sarkozy. I'm not going to spend my life drawing them."

The terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine's headquarters in January left 12 people dead, including the editor and several cartoonists. Luz escaped as he was late to an editorial meeting that day.

Charlie Hebdo had angered the gunmen by publishing articles critical of Islam and drawing pictures of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered by many Muslims to be an act of blasphemy.

The attacks inspired millions of people to declare "Je Suis Charlie" and a week later the magazine ran a "survivors' issue", with Luz's cartoon on the cover. It featured the prophet holding a sign saying "I am Charlie" and appeared under the heading "all is forgiven".

The reaction from fellow cartoonists to Luz's decision has been largely supportive, the Washington Post reports. American cartoonist Matt Davies said it seemed Luz had chosen not to continue to draw Mohammed "for good reasons" rather than based on a fear of reprisals.

"I'm outraged! That a cartoonist could freely choose what to draw and whom to insult is deeply troubling, where could this lead?" Joel Pett, cartoonist from the Lexington Herald Leader, told the Post.

Meanwhile, Mike Luckovich, cartoonist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution said he understood Luz's decision and would have made the same one himself.  "Not out of fear, but out of thinking: 'What's the point?

"Freedom to mock long-dead religious icons would no longer seem so important after your friends had been massacred."

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