SATIRISTS OF THE WORLD – UNITE!
A French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad today 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, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers.
Riot police were deployed to protect the Paris offices of the satirical weekly after it hit the newsstands 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 dishonour 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.”
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 Hebdo editor 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 wants — to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave,” he told Reuters.