France to close embassies, schools in response to Mohammed cartoons
A French magazine ridiculed Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons. 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.
Riot police were deployed to protect the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo after its latest 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.
Essam Erian, acting leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, said, "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 U.N. 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."
One of the cartoons, called "Mohammad: a star is born", portrayed 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 Prince William's wife, showed a topless, bearded character with the caption: "Riots in Arab countries after photos of Mrs. Mohammad are published."
Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier,said, "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. 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."
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the authorities had rejected a request to hold a march against the Mohammad film in Paris. He said, "There is no reason for us to allow conflicts that do not concern France to enter our country."
Posted by: ryuge