EUROPE > New cartoon puts France on high alert


A French magazine prints cartoons of Islam’s Prophet, inflaming protests against a anti-Islam film. The ban on protests against the film also raises debates on free speech

Print Page Send to friend »
Indonesian protesters shout slogans at a protest against the anti-Islam film. EPA photo

Indonesian protesters shout slogans at a protest against the anti-Islam film. EPA photo

Fresh protests erupted in the Muslim world yesterday over an anti-Islam film, while France stepped up its security after a satirical Parisian weekly published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, plunging the country into a fierce debate about free speech.

Riot police took up positions outside the offices of magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” which published cartoons mocking the offending film and also caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

The French government ordered embassies in around 20 countries and schools abroad to close on Sept. 21, as a precautionary measure. It also ordered the immediate closure of the French Embassy and the French school in Tunisia until Sept. 24. The cartoons have poured fuel on the fire, after the film provoked violence in Muslim countries resulting in the deaths of at least 30 people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

Free to go to court

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he would block a demonstration planned for Sept. 22 by people angry over the U.S.-produced film which portrays the prophet as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. “We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature,” Ayrault said. “If people really feel offended in their beliefs [...] they can go to court.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said freedom of expression can be limited by court decisions, “If there is a case of overstepping, it’s up to individuals or groups to bring it to the courts, which will say whether the law ... was respected.”

Leaders of the large Muslim community in France said an appeal for calm would be read out in mosques across the country on Sept. 21. One of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who goes by the name of Tignous, said: “It’s just a drawing.” “It’s not a provocation.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said he would soon bring the issue of having Islamophobia included among recognized hate crimes to the United Nations General Assembly meetings in this month. “The limits of freedom of expression and conscience end where others’ rights begin. You can say anything about religion, ideas and faith, but you have to stop when you cross the other’s [limit],” Erdoğan said.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said German law guaranteed freedom of expression, but not beyond the point where people feel insulted. In Pakistan, up to 500 lawyers burned a U.S. flag.

Friday was to be declared a national holiday in Pakistan, as a “day of expression of love for the Prophet.”

In Afghanistan, 1,000 protesters also took to the streets, blocking a key road to Kabul.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.


PRINTER FRIENDLY Send to friend »


Notice on comments

Nikos T.

9/21/2012 2:52:41 PM

@Murat Arun: "...we will not tolerate any insults to any of them.Yes Jesus too." You 've got to be kidding right? Where were the Muslims when the whole world was watching Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ?

A Shmolik

9/21/2012 6:17:52 AM

GY e _ Until recent advent of Electronic Newscastinf, it was a comon practice in many Newspapers and Magazines to make comment by using Carecature caracters to make comments. Particularly in USA , some Newspapers still have their Page of "Funy's". Does it become a Crime, if Irann copies that practice?

Murat Arun

9/21/2012 5:41:34 AM

@ Johanna Dew, you seem to be very disillusioned, i can tell by your comment you have'nt even read the Holy Quran, Muslims believe in all the holy prophets and we will not tolerate any insults to any of them.Yes Jesus too. we also believe in the books before the Holy Quran of course the uncorrupted versions. Let me also educate you about the holy trinity, this was invented by the emporer Constantine with the help of christian scholars, yes man made! This time the lesson is for free Johanna.SEEYA

Erik Johansson

9/20/2012 8:06:22 PM

Religions whose followers can´t stand the slightest bit of satire make me suspicious.

ealsho@eartlink.net tango73

9/20/2012 6:15:35 PM

The problem is that Iran holds government sponsored cartoon competitions to make fun of jews and the West. I did not a single complain or Embasies burning.

A Shmolik

9/20/2012 3:12:23 PM

Dear Johanna Dew, you still missing the poin; no one ask a News paper to forego their freedom of expression! Why Do Newspapers have an EDITOR? His job is to create and present a balabced view for his readers but not to create mayhem in he community! In fact, one of the World's most liberal. premier Newspaper, The New York Times, masthead reads: "All the News that is fit to Print", ever since that Paper was launched more than 100 years ago and the NYT is respected World over for it's liberal View

A Shmolik

9/20/2012 2:51:38 PM

@Johanna Dew, Well mere 75 years ago, a large segment of Europe did not RECOGNIZE Moses as a Moses as a Holly Man of Jews and sat silently by as Jews were terrorized, their Books burned. Result was Auschwitz, Bergen Belzen, Dachau and many more such places of Death, as some premier countrys merryily joined the Bon-Fire of Hatred! FYI Dear Johanna Dew, the Holy book Koran recognized all Saints and Messangers of God, since Adam and Eve as Holy! So Johanna,please don't spread more Leis & Hatred!

Johanna Dew

9/20/2012 2:38:18 PM

It is easy to argue that a video such as the one on YouT could be banned without doing much damage to freedom of expression, but that would only be the tip of the iceberg. The radicals who incite the violence would not be satisfied until they could decide what could be seen and heard. These hooligans wants to be judges when it comes to anything that relates the freedom. of 5 billion non-Muslims!.

constantinos kio

9/20/2012 2:15:34 PM

as a christian i have human rights in the muslim world also.

US Observer

9/20/2012 2:08:48 PM

All that is happening is these Musims doing the killing and burning are making these filmakers day. Their actions are making people afraid of what many perceive as a radical and violent religion. Once again, Islam is being displayed by the extremist. Also, Americans take their Constiutional rights very serious, in fact that is why we serve in the military. People are ready to die to protect their freedoms. The filmaker is an American citizen (orginally from Egypt) and has a right to free speech.
< >


AcerPro S.I.P.A HTML & CSS Agency