Al-Azhar calls on Muslims to ‘ignore’ new Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Jan 2015

New edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine has a cartoon of the Prophet Mohamed on its cover

Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayeb, Egyptian Imam of al-Azhar Mosque (Photo: Reuters)

Al-Azhar, Egypt's leading centre of Islamic learning, has called on Muslims to "ignore the nasty frivolity" of Charlie Hebdo's latest edition, which has a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.

The new issue comes out a week after gunmen stormed the newspaper's building and killed 12 of its staff, an attack that was later claimed by Al-Qaida in Yemen in revenge for the publication's earlier mocking of the Prophet.

The Wednesday issue of the paper featured on its cover a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed crying and holding up a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the words "All is forgiven."  

Three million copies were sold - 50 times the usual circulation, according to AP.

Al-Azhar renewed its condemnation of the depiction of the Prophet in drawings, calling it a "diseased imagination," adding that the status of the prophet cannot be damaged by a caricature "unbridled" from all moral restrictions.

"We call on all the wise and free men of the world to stand against all that threatens the world's peace," the statement said.

Following the attack in Paris, Al-Azhar issued a condemnation, saying that "Islam denounces any violence."

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi also condemned the attack, voicing Cairo's solidarity with France and sent the foreign minister to join other world leaders in the million man protest in Paris.

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta said in a statement on Tuesday that Charlie Hebdo’s decision to continue the publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohammed is "an act unjustifiably provocative to the feelings of a billion and a half Muslims worldwide who love and respect the Prophet,” 

Dar Al-Ifta, which is responsible for issuing religious edicts, warned that the new issue of the paper will cause a "new wave of anger" in France and the West in general adding that it "will not serve the dialogue between civilisations which Muslims seek."

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