"My initial thought is that the cover is a near perfect response to the tragedy," said Hussein Rashid, a professor of Islamic thought at Hofstra University in New York.
"They are not backing down from the depiction of Mohammed, exercising their free speech rights. At the same time, the message is conciliatory, humble, and will hopefully reduce the anger directed to the Muslim communities of France."
Rashid noted that the cover's central message -- forgiveness -- resonates not only throughout Islam but through other world religions as well, embracing all in a spirit of reconciliation.
"The cover is a call to our better angels," Rashid said, "and an acknowledgment that religion also offers good to the world."