French President Emmanuel Macron refused to condemn satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo's decision to republish offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying that it was not his place to pass judgment on the magazine's decision.
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."
Charlie Hebdo republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which unleashed a wave of anger in the Muslim world, to mark the start of the trial of alleged accomplices in the deadly attack against it in 2015 in which 12 people were killed.
Before the attack on Charlie Hebdo's offices, militants online had warned the magazine would pay for publishing the cartoons. The attacks that began on Jan. 7, 2015, sparked a series of militant attacks on French soil, including "lone wolf" killings by people said to be inspired by the Daesh terrorist group that have since claimed more than 250 lives.
The decision to republish the cartoons was seen as a renewed provocation by a magazine that has long courted with its satirical attacks on religion. Among the cartoons, most of which were first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, is one of Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse protruding.