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Muslims unite in anger over new Charlie cartoons

By JT , Agencies - Jan 14,2015 - Last updated at Jan 14,2015

AMMAN – Jordan and the Muslim world on Wednesday warned that the new cartoons published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will only serve to "stir up hatred".

Locally, the Jordan Press Association, lawmakers and Islamists issued statements slamming the move, while activists decided to organise a peaceful rally to the French embassy to protest “in defence of Prophet Mohammad”.

Al Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious centre of learning, on Tuesday said that the drawings "do not serve the peaceful coexistence between peoples and hinders the integration of Muslims into European and Western societies". 

The latest edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine that went on sale on Wednesday features an “insulting” cartoon of Prophet Mohammad and mocks the Islamist gunmen who murdered many of its staff last week.

Al Azhar was among the first Muslim groups to condemn last Wednesday's attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo by Islamist gunmen who killed 12 people, including five cartoonists.

At the time, it condemned the "criminal attack" and said "Islam denounces any violence".

Other mainstream Muslim leaders around the world have strongly condemned the attack on the newspaper; many said its decision to print more cartoons of Prophet Mohammad was an unnecessary provocation and sign of disrespect that would create a new backlash.

Such cartoons "fuel feelings of hatred and resentment among people" and publishing them "shows contempt" for Muslim feelings, said the grand mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian lands, Mohammed Hussein, in a statement.

Algeria's independent Arab language daily Echorouk responded with a front page cartoon of its own, showing a man carrying a "Je suis Charlie" placard next to a military tank crushing placards from Palestine, Mali, Gaza, Iraq and Syria.

Above, the headline reads: "We are all Mohammad."

In Turkey, a secular opposition newspaper printed excerpts from the Charlie Hebdo edition but balked at including the cover image depicting Prophet Mohammad. Police cordoned off its headquarters over security concerns.

In Iran, a leading conservative cleric, Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, said the publication of new satirical images of Prophet Mohammad "amounts to declaring war on all Muslims".

Saudi cleric Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, denounced the new cartoons as "insolence, ignorance and foolishness".

"Freedom of speech must not become hate-speech and it is not an offence to the others. No sane person, regardless of doctrine, religion or faith, accepts his beliefs being ridiculed," he said on a visit to Iraq.

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