French embassies face closure over Prophet's cartoon



Moscow: France will close several of its embassies and schools around the world amid concerns of a backlash after a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad appeared in French magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, Le Monde reported.

Paris announced it will close embassies, consulates and schools in 20 Muslim countries starting Friday, the French newspaper reported.

The move comes on the heels of the violent riots that erupted throughout Muslim world last week over the American anti-Islam film, "Innocence of Muslims", which was released Sep 11 and depicts Muslims and their prophet in a negative light.

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".

"I'm against all provocations - that's quite clear - especially in such a sensitive period as this one," he said.

Fabius added that the matter should be left to the French courts.

Riots erupted in several countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Libya. US Ambassador to Libya Chrisophter Stevens was killed, along with three other US personnel, were attacked near the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

IANS