French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday it was not his place to pass judgment on the decision by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to re-publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad ﷺ, saying France has freedom of expression.
But Macron, speaking on a visit to Lebanon, said it was incumbent on French citizens to show civility and respect for each other, and avoid a “dialogue of hate.”
The magazine re-published the cartoons on the eve of a trial in Paris of alleged accomplices in a 2015 attack on the magazine’s offices by gunmen in which 12 people were killed.
When they were first published by Charlie Hebdo and other publications, the cartoons unleashed a wave of anger in the Muslim world. For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet ﷺ is blasphemous.
“It’s never the place of a president of the Republic to pass judgment on the editorial choice of a journalist or newsroom, never. Because we have freedom of the press,” Macron said.