May 24, 2013
French weekly fuels Mohammad row with nude cartoons
A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad today by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a film depicting him as a womanizing buffoon.
France said it would temporarily close its embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday after a French magazine published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, a move it fears will further inflame tensions over a film mocking the prophet.
"We have indeed decided as a precautionary measure to close our premises, embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said of the shut-down on Friday, prayer day across the Muslim world.
Riot police were deployed to protect the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo after it hit the news stands with a cover showing an Orthodox Jew pushing the turbaned figure of Mohammad in a wheelchair. On the inside pages, several caricatures of the Prophet showed him naked.
Reacting to the publication, Essam Erian, acting head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, told Reuters: "We reject and condemn the French cartoons that dishonor the Prophet and we condemn any action that defames the sacred according to people's beliefs."
Calling for a UN treaty against insulting religion, he added: "We condemn violence and say that peaceful protests are a right for everyone. I hope there will be a popular western and French reaction condemning this."