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Why the cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo will no longer draw the Prophet Muhammad
March against Charlie Hebdo magazine terrorism attack, on January 7th, 2015, in front of France Embassy in Berlin, Germany - photo by JJ Feinauer
Renald Luzier, a cartoonist who frequently contributes to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, has decided he no longer has any interest in depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

According to NPR's reading of an interview Luzier did with a French magazine, the artist (who publishes under the pen name "Luz") has simply lost interest in Muhammad as a subject.

"He no longer interests me," NPR reports him as saying. Luzier added that this isn't the only public figure he's lost interest in drawing. He's also ceased to depict the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"I'm not going to spend my life drawing them," he said.

Luzier was the artist who drew the cover of the first Charlie Hebdo issue after the magazine's headquarters were assaulted by Islamic extremists in January. The cover depicted Muhammad holding a sign that read "Je Suis Charlie," a popular phrase of condolence meaning "I am Charlie" that circulated after the attack.

Luzier's announcement has made headlines because of the magazine's decision to depict the prophet, a practice forbidden in Islam, and other religious and political leaders in disrespectful ways, which goaded the terrorists into the assault.

"Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said shortly after the attack. "But neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction."

According to Donohue, it was not simply the fact that the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo depicted Muhammad. It was the "vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed."

More recently, a group of writers withdrew in protest from the PEN American Center's annual gala because the Center had decided to give Charlie Hebdo their Freedom of Expression Courage award.

One of the protesters, Rachel Kusner, said giving the award to Charlie Hebdo was celebrating its cultural intolerance, according to The New York Times.

But Luzier's interview doesn't seem to indicate that fears of being labeled as "culturally intolerant" played any part at all in his decision to retire his Muhammad caricature.

The terrorists did not win, the New York Times reported him as saying in the interview. They will have won if the whole of France continues to be scared.
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