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  • Date :
  • 9/24/2012

France Bans Protests over Prophet Muhammad Cartoons

france bans protests over prophet muhammad cartoons

France confirmed on Friday it would allow no street protests against cartoons denigrating Islam’s prophet Muhammad that were published by a French magazine.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects throughout the country had orders to prohibit any protest over the issue and to crack down if the ban was challenged.

"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," he told a news conference in the southern port city of Marseille.

The main body representing Muslims in France appealed for calm as the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo put a new print run of the cartoons featuring Prophet Muhammad on the newsstands.

The drawings have fanned the flames over an anti-Islam film made in California that has provoked violent protests in Muslim countries, including attacks on U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. envoy to Libya and a bombing in Afghanistan.

French embassies, schools, and cultural centers in some 20 Muslim countries were closed on Friday.

Police were on alert in the French capital after protests planned by some Muslim groups were banned.

Mohammed Moussaoui, leader of the French Muslim Council (CFCM), described both the film and the cartoons as "acts of aggression", but urged French Muslims not to take to the streets for unauthorized protests.

"I repeat the CFCM's call not to protest. Any protest could be hijacked and counterproductive," he told French radio station RFI.

Charlie Hebdo, an anti-establishment weekly whose Paris offices are under police protection, defied critics to rush out another run of the publication.

President Francois Hollande's government has sought to balance a cherished tradition of freedom of expression with security concerns, denouncing Charlie Hebdo as irresponsible.

"When you are free, in a country like ours, you always have to measure the impact of your words," French European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

By Sadroddin Musawi

Other links:  

Afghans Stage Fresh Protests against Anti-Islam Film, Cartoons

Lebanon Muslims Protest insulting Film, Cartoons

Egyptians Protest French Cartoons Insulting Prophet

Diplomatic Missions Close amid Fear of More Protests

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