Syrian group files complaint over French Prophet cartoons
Paris will close embassies, consulates and schools in 20 Muslim countries starting Friday – the Muslim holy day.
Paris: Accusing it of inciting hatred, a little known Syrian organisation has lodged a complaint against the satirical French weekly that published objectionable Prophet Muhammad cartoons, sparking backlash fears, BBC reported Thursday.
The French weekly named Charlie Hebdo, which on Wednesday came up with a fresh issue of its magazine featuring on its front page a cartoon showing an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned figure in a wheelchair.
Several other Prophet caricatures, some of them being naked and pornographic, are shown on inside pages of the magazine.
The Syrian organisation filed the complaint with Paris prosecutors, who will further decide if the French weekly would be acted against.
Meanwhile, bracing up for the situation, France has tightened security at its embassies across the Muslim world.
Fearing fierce backlash the Prophet Mohammed cartoons, France will close several of its embassies and schools around the world.
Paris announced it will close embassies, consulates and schools in 20 Muslim countries starting Friday – the Muslim holy day.
It also immediately shut down its embassy and the French school in Tunisia, the site of deadly protests at the US Embassy last week.
The cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed might add to the widespread indignation that has already been triggered by an-anti Muslim movie named “Innocence of Muslims” that depicts Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer and fraud.
The anti-Islam film has triggered massive protests at Western embassies across the Muslim world, leading to violent attacks one of which resulted in death of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
France fears similar protests at its embassies in wake of Mohammed cartoons, which might add fuel to the already raging fire spawned by anti-Islam film.
The drawings, some of which depicted Muhammad naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses, were met with a swift rebuke by the French government, which warned the magazine could be inflaming tensions, even as it reiterated France’s free speech protections.
During a visit to Cairo, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters that the cartoon, which in several instances depicts Muhammad naked, was a "provocation".
The principle of freedom of expression “must not be infringed,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, speaking on France Inter radio.
But he added: “Is it pertinent, intelligent, in this context to pour oil on the fire? The answer is no.”
The French Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning urging French citizens in the Muslim world to exercise “the greatest vigilance,” avoiding public gatherings and “sensitive buildings.”
France is home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population and the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed might act as catalyst to the violence provoked by the anti-Islam video.
With Agency Inputs