The Charlie Hebdo cartoonist behind the magazine’s covers depicting the prophet Muhammad has spoken of his sadness over the presence of an official representative from Saudi Arabia on the Paris march held in solidarity with his murdered colleagues.
In an interview with Vice News, cartoonist Renald ‘Luz’ Luzier noted that in Saudi Arabia blogger Badawi has been sentenced to ten years in jail and 1,000 lashes.
Luz said: “All of a sudden, Saudi Arabia says, ‘I am Charlie’, but it is not. They are not Charlie when they put a blogger in jail and whip him….It makes me really sad."
In the interview, Luz spoke of his lucky escape surviving the shooting on 7 January as a result of it being his birthday.
He arrived late to a work meeting after staying in bed with his wife enjoying coffee and cake, to hear the first shots and find the killers fleeing, having left bloody footsteps on the stairwell.
“I understood later that this was my friends' blood,” he said.
The interview, Luz’s first on camera, took place in his flat, now under police protection and apparently “sniper-proof” after he drew the recent Charlie Hebdo front cover featuring the prophet Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the words “All is forgiven”.
He described his sadness at other magazines such as the New York Times refusing to publish the front cover out of fear, and of the difficulties behind the “Je suis Charlie” phrase becoming an international symbol for free speech.
“For ourselves becoming a symbol is difficult. Because Charlie fought against symbols,” he said.
Luz said he didn’t think Muslims care about Charlie Hebdo, and that those who claim all Muslims are offended take Muslims for imbeciles, adding: “We don’t take Muslims for imbeciles.”
Luz has been a cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo for 20 years.