Naked Mohammed cartoons: French PM calls for calm

But Jean-Marc Ayrault reminds world that French press has a right to free expression

LAST UPDATED AT 13:38 ON Wed 19 Sep 2012

FRENCH embassies are on alert after the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons today mocking a naked Prophet Mohammed. The satirical weekly has been widely condemned in France over its latest edition, which comes out amid continuing violent protests around the world over the controversial film, Innocence of Muslims.
 
Both France's political and religious leaders called for restraint and riot police were deployed outside the magazine's Paris headquarters, The Guardian reports.

The magazine's cover shows a caricature of an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair who is saying "You mustn't mock". The headline 'Untouchable 2' refers to a hugely popular French film about a poor black man who looks after a wealthy, aristocratic quadriplegic. Several other cartoons of the Prophet feature on the inside pages while the back page shows a naked Mohammed exposing his posterior to a film director.

It is not the first time Charlie Hebdo has provoked the ire of Muslims. Last November its offices were firebombed after it produced an issue called Charia Hebdo, supposedly guest-edited by the Prophet.
 
In the past week more than 30 people have died after the appearance on YouTube of a trailer for Innocence of Muslims sparked a wave of retaliatory attacks on US and other embassies around the world. The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed in a rocket attack on the Benghazi consulate.

Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council for Jewish Institutions, slammed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, particularly given the current atmosphere. "To publish caricatures of the prophet Mohammad in these times, in the name of freedom, is an irresponsible kind of panache."

The president of the Observatory of Islamophobia, Abdallah Zekri, told Le Monde that Charlie Hebdo "would have done better not to publish the insulting cartoons in an already tense situation".

But senior French politicians were careful to remember the magazine's right to freedom of expression. Former Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux called the nude Mohammed “an unnecessary provocation."  But he added: "I prefer the excess of caricatures to the excesses of censorship."
 
Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a statement saying: "In the current climate, the prime minister wishes to stress his disapproval of all excesses and calls on everyone to behave responsibly."

However, questioned on RTL radio, Ayrault added: "We are in a country where the freedom of expression is guaranteed, along with the freedom to caricature. If people really feel their beliefs are offended and think the law has been broken – and we are in a state where the law must be totally respected — they can go to the courts."

This morning Charlie Hebdo's website was down, reportedly crashing after being bombarded with comments that ranged from hatred to approval.

Editor Stephane Charbonnier was unrepentant, saying the images would "shock those who will want to be shocked". He said the magazine "does caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, but when we do it with the Prophet, it's called provocation".

As a precaution, French embassies and schools in 20 countries will be temporarily closed tomorrow, in case of Muslim protests after prayers, the French foreign ministry announced. · 

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This is totally irresponsible and will certainly pour oil on the fire.

Personally I believe there is an agenda to create WW3.

And the idea of freedom of speech in the West is so hypocritical.

F**k you and your murdrous, theiving, pedophile, false profit.

Gee, maybe the French aren't ALL cheese eating surrender monkeys.

Aren’t we just sick and tired
of hearing Muslim apologists calling for calm and understanding every time their
fundamentalist brothers cut loose causing bloodshed, terror and despair throughout
our world. Supposedly responsible Islamic leaders are just so quick to distance
themselves and their communities from these atrocities, however, they don’t
seem to appreciate that they themselves subscribe to the same basic belief
system as their extremist brothers and cousins. The only difference is that of the
extent that apologists will go to in order to proliferate their dogma compared
to their fundamentalist counterparts. This then, by definition, labels them as
moderates. Many might think that the relationship stops there but it doesn’t. As
each atrocity is committed, the wider world is shocked. Moderate Muslim leaders
and communities repeat their routines of distancing and denial and the cycle
continues. But understand this clearly! The “forests of moderate Muslims” are
the very forests in which the extremists are created, nurtured, and hide,
awaiting their opportunities before planning and executing the atrocities that
we witness daily throughout our troubled world. As long as the apologists
maintain and legitimise the nurseries of mosques stocked with hate filled
Imams, this stream of poisoned minds in the form of terrorists, hijackers,
suicide bombers and all forms of insane sub life, will roll off the production
lines to service the needs of the Jihad. Our world is now at the eleventh hour
in confronting a problem which is vastly more threatening and sinister than
climate change.

For sure I do agree with you there Snowy they are all green snakes in green grass. Evil people inspired by a evil pervert.

Plz Explain Freedom of Speech..... Challenging the Holocaust,comes in it or not?

our silence does not matter that we are ignoring this rubbish step. we can do everything for our Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Putting in question killing 6 million people (which is a fact) is the same as making cartoons about a massive killer, robber and rapist (as well a fact) ??
But unfortunately yes, in most european countries it's considered freedom of speech (exceptions are germany and austria).
So the hypocrite (and a giant one at that) is you yourself.

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