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Muslim countries react to new Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Having condemned last week's armed attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a number of Arab capitals and institutions condemn the action of the magazine in publishing a new cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed

Ghada Atef , Wednesday 14 Jan 2015
Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania take part in a rally of defiance and sorrow to honour the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence in Paris on Sunday (Photo:Reuters)
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Three million copies of the latest Charlie Hebdo edition issued Tuesday in France quickly sold out. Meanwhile, Arab and Muslim countries have begun condemning its new "offensive" cover, depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

Almost a week ago, Muslim gunmen staged a bloody attack on the weekly magazine, ending the lives of 12 persons, including a number of the magazine's journalists and cartoonists.

The new cover shows a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed wearing a white galabeya and crying while holding the slogan "I am Charlie" ("Je Suis Charlie"), under the headline "All is forgiven."

In the wake of last week's attack, the majority of countries in the international community condemned the massacre. Leaders of Arab countries, including the foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria, Turkey and Jordan, participated in an international solidarity march in Paris. But when the magazine announced its new issue would include new cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Egypt, Jordan and Muslim communities denounced the action.

"Ignore the new Charlie Hebdo edition," Egypt's Al-Azhar said in a statement published Wednesday on its official website, denouncing the new issue and describing the cover cartoon as the product of a "sick imagination."

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta, responsible for religious edicts, also denounced the latest Charlie Hebdo edition in a statement Tuesday, describing its caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed is "an act unjustifiably provocative to the feelings of a billion and a half Muslims worldwide who love and respect the Prophet.”

For his part, Jordanian Minister of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic Affairs Hayel Abdulhafez Dawud denied an Anadolu News Agency report that he had called on all Arab and Muslim countries to boycott French products.

The website of Jordan's state newspaper reported that Dawud had been misquoted, the minister adding that there are many peaceful ways to denounce cartoons offensive to Muslim religious symbols.  

Dawud's statement followed the visit of the Jordanian King Abdullah and his wife to France to participate in the anti-terrorism solidarity march.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said that Syria denounced the killing of innocent people in anywhere in the world, but that the act of terrorism that took place in Paris was a reaction to European governments' policy of politicising "terrorists," the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Morocco's FM Salaheddine Mezouar also went to the Elysee Palace and presented sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

However, the Moroccan government snubbed attending the march against extremism due to the presence of "blasphemous cartoons depicting the Prophet".

For its part, Iran issued a statement condemning the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said in a press conference that the new cartoon "provokes the emotions of Muslims around the world and hurts their feelings, and could fan the flames of a vicious circle of extremism."

Iran earlier condemned last week's deadly Paris attack.

Al-Qaeda Organisation in Yemen announced its responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack Wednesday, after the new edition was issued.

In a video spread on news websites, the spokesman of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Naser Ansy, said that the attack have been planned and funded by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahry.

"To make it clear for the Muslim community, the one who planned and funded the operation is Al-Qaeda, in respect for our prophet, and the order came from Emir Ayman Zawahry," Ansy said.

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