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French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday anyone offended by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo could take the matter to the courts. ABACA photo

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday anyone offended by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo could take the matter to the courts. ABACA photo

A French satirical magazine published nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed today, a move that could further inflame tensions after violent protests in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film.
 
The cover of Charlie Hebdo shows a Muslim in a wheelchair being pushed by an Orthodox Jew under the title "Intouchables 2", referring to an award-winning French film about a poor black man who helps an aristocratic quadriplegic.
 
Another cartoon on the back page of the weekly magazine show a naked turbaned Mohammed exposing his posterior to a film director, a scene inspired by a 1963 film starring French film star Brigitte Bardot.
 
Charlie Hebdo's website crashed on Wednesday after being bombarded with comments that ranged from hate mail to approbation. The magazine is no stranger to controversy over issues relating to Islam.
 
Last year it published an edition "guest-edited" by the Prophet Mohammed that it called Sharia Hebdo. The magazine's offices in Paris were subsequently fire-bombed.
 
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said anyone offended by cartoons could take the matter to the courts after expressing his "disapproval of all excesses".
 
But he emphasised France's tradition of free speech. "We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature," he said on RTL radio.
 
"If people really feel offended in their beliefs and think there has been an infringement of the law -- and we are in a state where laws must be totally respected -- they can go to court," Ayrault said.
 
He also said a request to hold a demonstration in Paris against the controversial US-made anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" which has sparked furious protests across the Muslim world would be refused.
 
Charlie Hebdo's latest move was greeted with immediate calls from political and religious leaders for the media to act responsibly and avoid inflaming the current situation.
 
The magazine's editor, originally a cartoonist who uses the name Charb, denied he was being deliberately provocative at a delicate time.
 
"The freedom of the press, is that a provocation?" he said. "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." Dalil Boubakeur, the senior cleric at Paris's biggest mosque, appealed for France's four million Muslims to remain calm.
 
"It is with astonishment, sadness and concern that I have learned that this publication is risking increasing the current outrage across the Muslim world," he said.
 
"I would appeal to them not to pour oil on the fire." France's Muslim Council, the community's main representative body, also appealed for calm in the face of "this new act of Islamaphobia".

France steps up security at embassies

France has stepped up security at embassies in countries where there could be a hostile reaction to a magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday.
 
"I have obviously issued instructions so that special security measures are taken in all the countries where this could pose a problem," Fabius said.
 
The minister admitted that he was "concerned" by the potential for a backlash to satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's printing of a series of cartoons featuring the Prophet against a background of violent protests in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film.
 
The crudely-made US film is the main target of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons but they are open to easy misinterpretation and it seemed inevitable that the finer points of the magazine's satire would be lost in translation as the images circulate around the world.
 
The weekly carries a total of four cartoons which include images definitely intended to represent Mohammed, as opposed to any other Muslim. In two of them, the Prophet is shown naked.

September/19/2012

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A Shmolik

9/22/2012 2:46:08 PM

@SidMark - Sir, you don't have the intestinal fortitude to come clean and expres your own hate, so you join them in an obligue fashion, good luck to you as you are being swept into the Whilpool, towards the dustbin of hatred!

Sid Mark

9/21/2012 4:30:14 PM

@Ashmolik.How right you are.They would not publish anything about Jesus or Moses.You know why?Because it will not get the attention you pay on this regarding your prophet.They found your button and press it so they laugh at you.

A Shmolik

9/19/2012 9:20:45 PM

It would be a safe bet that the same Publication would not publish a deragatory or any cartoon that depicts Jesus or Moses, because iof fear of affending their Advertisers producing revenue, their Idialistic phony cry of Democracy would fall by the wayside when it comes to their PROFIT. Therefore Publishing Cartoons of MOhammed is an Act of Pure Hatred. Shame on them and shame on their Lands for their tacitinaction on this Issue!

A Shmolik

9/19/2012 8:55:11 PM

Why give attention to these depraved individuals, waste time and emotions, to validate these self-lothing, attention seeking Nerds! Just immagene how empty their lifes must be, to sink so low,trying to incie and insult groups of other Humans, to whom Religeon and their Prophets,may it be Mose Jesus,Mohamed are inspiration to leed productives, raise Families and form Human communities! Bedst thing to do is pray for the salvation of these errant souls as in reality they're crying out for HELP!

Erik Johansson

9/19/2012 7:10:17 PM

...and much of the debate ceased. The exhibition was actually meant as a modern interpretation to the fact that Jesus, according to the Bible, always showed compassion to people with low status in society.

Erik Johansson

9/19/2012 7:07:59 PM

@Mara. A couple of years ago, the photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin announced that she had made a photo exhibition, "Ecce Homo", depicting Jesus in the company of LGBTs. The initial reaction to this was "is this really necessary"... Then there was an intense debate, where some Christians, though usually calm and civilized people, used a very bad language, worse than the theme of the exhibition itself...Then the pictures were shown in the newspapers...

mara mcglothin

9/19/2012 4:54:25 PM

Could somebody make some satire featuring Christ having sex with John the Baptist or something? Then we can see how the Christians of the World react to that! Time for Muslims to get a thicker skin and understand that just because someone says or draws it,..that doesn't make it true!

mara mcglothin

9/19/2012 4:51:03 PM

HARRY I think that they both have a right to be judged. I think you should be able to "insulted" whether you are a person or an idealogy. Simple. Kate got what she deserved! I don't think that appearing outside topless is any reason to sue. If those pictures had been taken with her "inside" her personal residence, then that is another matter. That's privacy!

Harry Foundalis

9/19/2012 12:50:43 PM

@Foreigner: Kate Middleton is a very real and living person, and has every right to ask her private life be protected by law. Islam is not a person, but an ideology. The law in the West protects individuals, not ideologies. You are free to insult the ideology of Christianity, for example, by creating cartoons making fun of Christ. That's not a reason for a court in the West to put you begind bars. Do you see the difference between insulting a person and making fun of a people's ideology?

Roger Harding

9/19/2012 12:37:42 PM

French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault claims France is a free nation. If so, why refuse a request to hold a peaceful demonstration? How about the freedom to deny "Armenian Genocide" in France? Under freedom speech. Any Armenians offended can go to court. Why ban that freedom Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault? I am no supporter of intolerant religous fanatics who threaten to kill cartoonists.
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