JNN 20 Sept 2012 Paris : French satirical magazine has once again published offensive caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH on Wednesday as worldwide protests continue against a US film. France announced it would close embassies and schools in around 20 countries, fearing violence.
Security has been increased at France’s interests abroad after a French satirical magazine published obscene cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
French embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools in some 20 countries will be closed for the next few days as a precaution.
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published the caricatures on Wednesday, saying the illustrations would “shock those who will want to be shocked.” Highly Offensive illustrations of Prphet Mohammed PBUH were included among the various caricatures in the release.
Meanwhile, Russian news agency Interfax reported that Parisian kiosks sold out all copies of the magazine almost as soon as it hit the shelves. Charlie Hebdo’s website went down soon after the issue was published.
A group of Pakistani hackers claimed to have taken down the official Charlie Hebdo website on Wednesday, saying they demanded freedom from hypocrisy from the French government.
The group vowed to do “whatever is necessary to stop blasphemous content of our holy prophet” if the French government does not take action against “so-called blatant freedom of speech.”
French Government ministers voiced concern at the Charlie Hebdo cartoons but defended the freedom of the press.
Riot police have been deployed around the magazine’s offices in Paris.
The magazine has confirmed that its website has been attacked. It was not accessible as of Wednesday morning.
Its paper edition features caricatures which play on both the uproar in the Islamic world over an amateur video which mocks Islam and the row over the publication in France of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.
French politicians and religious leaders have called for calm at the decision to publish the images amidst violent worldwide Muslim protests against the American-made film “Innocence of Muslims” that have been raging since last week. Approximately 40 people have been killed in the wake of the violence across the globe.
The dead include the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans, who died in Benghazi. US and other Western embassies have come under attack in mainly Muslim countries.
A tenet of Islam bans the portrayal of its founder, the Prophet Muhammad. As Any representation of the Holy Prophet Mohammed is considered insulting and blasphemous under Islamic law.
‘Disgraceful and hateful’
Charlie Hebdo (CH) is a satirical French magazine notorious for its criticism and controversy.
– In 2006, CH reprinted a 2005 Danish cartoon of Prophet Mohammed PBUH with a bomb in his turban, which ignited protests.
– Former editor Philippe Val was tried and acquitted of racial injury charges in French courts after reprinting the 2005 cartoon.
– In 2011, CH released an issue with the Prophet Mohammed as a “guest editor.” The issue was called “Sharia Hebdo”; its Paris offices were firebombed shortly afterwards.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was “concerned” at the cartoons and had ordered “special security measures… in all the countries where this [publication] could pose a problem”.
The French schools are already closed in Tunisia. In Libya, French journalists are withdrawing from known hotels. And in the Muslim community of Belleville in Paris, they have been buying the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo just to rip it up.
No wonder the French authorities are concerned. The French foreign minister acted quickly this morning in an attempt to suppress the anger, while articulating the government’s frustrations. The decision to print the cartoons at a time when Western embassies are already threatened, he said, would only “add fuel to the fire”.
Last night Charb, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, told me he rejected criticism that he was inciting violence, putting French lives at risk. He was using the cartoons, he said, to make fun of the film rather than the Prophet. But he would know what the reaction would be. Even as he left his offices last night, the riot police were there, on stand-by as a precaution. And this morning the magazine’s website was hacked.
The French authorities have turned down an application from the Muslim community for a demonstration on Saturday. The request was initially lodged in response to the controversial American film. Mr Fabius says he “sees no reason to allow conflicts that do not concern France into the country”. But the government’s decision is harder to defend now that the magazine has decided to publish, though clearly there are public order issues. These are highly offensive images, even to non-Muslims.
The closures relate to possible protests following weekly Friday Muslim prayers.
No list of countries affected was immediately available. However, the following measures have been put in place:
Security was being enhanced noticeably at the embassy in the Egyptian capital Cairo, as French schools and cultural centres in the country were set to close on Thursday
The embassy in the Indonesian capital Jakarta announced on its website it would close on Friday
French schools in Tunisia were due to close from Wednesday afternoon until Monday morning, and the embassy in Tunis will be closed on Friday
The French government condemned the publication as needlessly provocative, while at the same time urging for cooler heads to prevail.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office said in a statement, “In the current climate, the prime minister wishes to stress his disapproval of all excess and calls on everyone to behave responsibly.”
“Freedom of expression constitutes one of the fundamental principles of our republic. Such freedom is exercised within the framework of the law and under the supervision of the courts,” the PM said.
But US White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed concern at the decision to publish the cartoons, comparing them to the Innocence of Muslims video which caused uproar in last week.
“We know that these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential to be inflammatory,” he said.
“… We don’t question the right of something like this to be published, we just question the judgement behind the decision to publish it and I think that’s our view about the video that was produced in this country and has caused so much offence in the Muslim world.”
Muslim leaders urged calm in France, which has the EU’s largest Muslim community – about 10% of the population.
The French Muslim Council (CFCM), the main Islamic body in France, on Wednesday accused satirical Parisian weeklyCharlie Hebdo of firing up anti-Muslim sentiment at a sensitive time, The Associated Press reported.
“There is profound indignation at the publicati on of these cartoons,” the body’s leader Mohammed Moussaoui said.
He also described the cartoons as “unjust” and “Islamophobic”.
Mouassoui also called on the French Muslim community to “rise above their anger and not give in to the provocation”.
“This is a disgraceful and hateful, useless and stupid provocation,” Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Paris Mosque, said.
He added, “We are not like animals of Pavlov to react at each insult.”
Abdallah Zekri, President of the Paris-Based Anti-Islamophobia Observatory, also said his group is considering filing a lawsuit against Parisian weeklyCharlie Hebdo.
“People want to create trouble in France. Charlie Hebdo wants to make money on the backs of Muslims,” he said.
Charlie Hebdo, known in France for its scatological cartoons, has caricatured other religious figures in the past, including a “Pope special” in 2008 which resulted in an unsuccessful court action accusing the magazine of inciting hate.
One of the milder cartoons in Wednesday’s edition, the cover image, shows an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair, with the caption “You mustn’t mock”.
Among the explicit cartoons inside, one clearly parodies the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge which appeared in Closer magazine, and resulted in an injunction on Tuesday.
The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Gerard Biard, told the BBC’s World Have Your Say programme they had published the cartoons because the protests about the film were newsworthy.
“These publications will not cost lives,” he said. “Who killed people? We are not killing people, I’m sorry. We are not the violent ones. We are just journalists.”
Magazine editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier said earlier: “I’m not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn’t go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe.”
In November, the magazine’s offices in Paris were gutted by a petrol bomb attack after it named the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor-in-chief” for an issue.
Muslims in Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Gaza, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia, Britain, the United States, France, Belgium, and some other countries have held many demonstrations to condemn the blasphemous film.
Angry protesters across demand the US government apologize to the Muslim world over the anti-Islam movie.
The American-made anti-Islam movie is said to have been made with the help of Jewish donations totaling USD 5 million.
US sponsored Taliban and Al Qaida were created for this day, as this is because of them the Muslims and Islam both are being targeted and defamed. They are the reason for Portraying Islam as the Religion of Hate and Brutality, and it is because of them that now Islam is stamped as the Religion of Sword , The Religion which is actually the sign of Peace and tranquility , has been stamped as the religion of extremism and hatred , as the plan which was made by the US and the West to defame Islam , as it was the most fast growing religion of the World , and as it was suppose to take over as the Biggest religion of the World in a decade or so , so it was planned much earlier . to curtail and check its growth the band of Terrorist were recruited with the help of the Saudi Monarchy , to Nurture the terrorist which will finally demoralize the Muslims of the World and Defame the Best Religion in the World , to be the Religion of Extremism and Hatred. And termed it as the Band of Terrorists.