September 19, 2012

France shuts down schools and embassies in over 20 countries over Mohammad pictures

A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday 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.

The French government, which had urged the magazine not to print the images, said it was temporarily shutting down premises including embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers.

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.”


The posting of a short film on YouTube last week that mocked Mohammad as a lecherous fool has sparked sometimes deadly protests in many countries.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack in Benghazi, and U.S. and other foreign embassies were stormed in cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by furious Muslims. Afghan militants said a suicide bombing that killed 12 people on Tuesday was carried out in retaliation for the film.

One of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, entitled “Mohammad: a star is born,” depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display naked buttocks and genitals, a star covering his anus.

A second cartoon, in reference to the scandal over a French magazine’s decision to publish topless photos of the wife of Britain’s Prince William, showed a topless, bearded character with the caption: “Riots in Arab countries after photos of Mrs. Mohammad are published.”

“We have the impression that it’s officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists,” Charlie Hebdoeditor Stephane Charbonnier, who drew the front-page cartoon, said.

“It shows the climate — everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want — to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave,” he told Reuters.


Many Muslims consider any representation of Allah or the Prophet Mohammad offensive.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticized the magazine’s move as a provocation.

“We saw what happened last week in Libya and in other countries such as Afghanistan,” Fabius told a regular government news conference. “We have to call on all to behave responsibly.”

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said France was closing its embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in 20 countries on Friday as a “precautionary measure”.

Charlie Hebdo has a long reputation for being provocative. Its Paris offices were firebombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Mohammad.

In 2005, Danish cartoons of the Prophet sparked a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world that killed at least 50 people.

The French Muslim Council, the main body representing Muslims in France, accusedCharlie Hebdo of firing up anti-Muslim sentiment at a sensitive time.

“The CFCM is profoundly worried by this irresponsible act, which in such a fraught climate risks further exacerbating tensions and sparking damaging reactions,” it said.

Richard Prasquier, head of the body representing France’s Jewish community — Europe’s largest — said religious censorship was wrong but added: “Publishing Mohammad cartoons at this time, in the name of freedom, is irresponsible.”

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the authorities had rejected a request to hold a march against the Mohammad film in Paris.

“There is no reason for us to allow conflicts that do not concern France to enter our country,” Ayrault told RTL radio.

Social media had circulated calls for a protest on Saturday against the film, after police arrested about 150 people who tried to take part in an unauthorized protest near the U.S. Embassy in Paris last week.


  1. I recommend this article:

    I think it is quite relevant.

  2. So, it's OK to publish cartoons that insult the world's second largest religion and might cause murder and mayhem, but we can't see photos of Kate's tiny titties? What a world!

    1. This is the French version of the "video" released over here to stir more conflict with Islam. We all know who's behind it. What are the chances of a cartoon depicting Israel in an unflattering light? Zip. It would be punished.

  3. These Islamophobic devils just don't stop insult after insult and they wonder why the muslims are angry. Not forgetting the US led genocide of the islamic world in which in the past 2 deacdes more than 3,000,000 iraqis and afghans were murdered ruthlessly and still you label them the aggressor. I think the citizens of the west need to study what happened to the enemies of the muslims from the mongols to the byzantines and crusaders all lost in the end i guess the west will lose in the end again shame they can't see pro israeli politicians committing suicide for israel.

  4. Islam is very fragile, they have to use very strict rules and promising heaven wine virgin angels, otherwise, none will follow islam. All religions are using such way anyway, depends whether we can use our reason and our brain to think whether to accept such promises or just ignore it and live peacefully on earth.