Charlie Hebdo and the Problem of Forgiving Terrorists

Nearly a week since the Paris terrorist attacks, tomorrow Charlie Hebdo will release their weekly satirical magazine. Here’s the cover:

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Depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed shedding a tear while holding a sign saying “We are Charlie,” the top caption states “all is forgiven.”

Five questions:

  1. Who’s doing the forgiving: Mohammed, Hebdo, or a combination of the two?
  2. How does Hebdo define forgiveness? What are the categories?
  3. Is true forgiveness possible without repentance? In other words, is forgiveness unconditional or conditional?
  4. Since most if not all of Hebdo’s past and current employees are not affiliated with any religion, and many are self-professing atheists, what is their process of forgiveness?
  5. How might Christians respond to the Hebdo cover in a posture of humble yet unflinching critique?

What are your responses to any of the above questions? Please share your comments.

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