Muslim Protests Take Aim At French Cartoon
Hundreds rallied in a western neighborhood of Kabul and outside the French embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran. The satirical caricature published yesterday adds to the irascible atmosphere created by the highly controversial film "Innocence of Muslims."
When the cartoon went public yesterday, France took measures to close embassies and schools in roughly 20 countries and issued travel advisories for French citizens.
France has said the closures will extend to Friday, which is the Muslim day of prayer, for fear of protests turning violent over the cartoon.
BBC reported that the Syrian Freedom Association filed a legal complaint in Paris today, accusing the magazine of "inciting hatred." Other reactions include Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood urging France to take legal action against Charlie Hebdo similar to that taken against Closer magazine for publishing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton).
The French press seemed divided on the moral and ethical issues around the freedom of Charlie Hebdo in printing the cartoons, but the magazine editor spoke firmly about his participation as a commentator in these protests.
Charlie Hebdo's editor, Stephane Charbonnier, described those getting irate over the cartoons as "ridiculous clowns" and accused the French government of pandering to them by criticizing him for being provocative.
A cartoonist from the magazine, Renald "Luz" Luzier, also spoke in defense of their decision to publish the cartoon in an interview with BBC, claiming they were just doing their job.
"I don't think we decided to put oil on fire, we just did our work," he said. "Everybody's looking or drawing flags like [it's] a provocation but it's not, it's only drawings, it's only a little sketch of papers, we are not in the Crusades."
Luz told BBC he's been under close surveillance since the magazine's offices were bombed last November when they released a special Arab spring edition entitled "Sharia Hebdo" and listed the prophet Muhammed as "guest editor."