Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cover goes global despite Muslim ire

Charlie Hebdo Mohammed cover goes global despite Muslim ire

PARIS - A defiant Charlie Hebdo cover of a crying Prophet Mohammed above the slogan "All is Forgiven" was reproduced by media around the world Tuesday but was seen by many Muslims as an unnecessary provocation.

The front page of the French satirical newspaper - its first since many of its staff were slain in a jihadi attack last week that killed 12 people - was widely taken up by media in Western nations and in Latin America.

It shows Mohammed on a green background under the ambiguous title "All is forgiven".

But major media in many Arab and some African and Asian countries, as well as Turkey, were did not show it due to Muslim sensitivity to portraying Mohammed.

Egypt's Islamic authority denounced the Charlie Hebdo cover. Violent riots broke out there in early 2006 over Mohammed caricatures first printed by a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and later republished by Charlie Hebdo.

"This action is an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims," the authority, Dar al-Ifta, said.

Many devout Muslims view any depiction of their prophet as forbidden and Charlie Hebdo's past caricatures of Mohammed as inflammatory insults.

Because of huge demand for the special "survivors' issue" of Charlie Hebdo, some three million copies are to be printed - far more than the usual 60,000 before the attack brought the weekly to worldwide prominence - and it will be translated into 16 languages.

The issue will include cartoons by its murdered cartoonists.

An advance copy obtained by AFP contained cartoons mocking the two Islamist gunmen who carried out the attack. One has them arriving in paradise and asking, "Where are the 70 virgins?" "With the Charlie team, losers," comes the reply.

The remaining Charlie Hebdo staff who put the issue together said they wanted Mohammed on the cover to show they would not "cede" to extremists wanting to silence them.

The fact that many non-European outlets did not reproduce the front page cartoon revealed unease about the magazine being elevated to a global champion for freedom of expression.

The French publication earned broad sympathy after the bloody attack, but some expressed reservations - or stronger - about the role now attributed to it.

Prophet 'insulted'

One of the fiercest criticisms of the Mohammed front page came from within Iran, an Islamic republic notorious for throwing many journalists in jail.

"Charlie Hebdo has again insulted the Prophet," the conservative news website Tabnak asserted, next to a blurred image of the cover.

Major Arab broadcasters Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera did not show the cover in their reports.

Leaked internal e-mails from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera have revealed a debate between its Arabic- and English-language employees about whether Charlie Hebdo and the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan should symbolise free speech.

Most French media outlets, including newspapers Le Monde, Liberation, Le Figaro and TV networks including TF1, published images of the Charlie Hebdo cover.

The rector of Paris's mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, urged France's Muslims "to remain calm" over the cover "by avoiding emotional reactions... and respecting freedom of opinion".

The head of a big mosque in central eastern Paris, Hammad Hammami, voiced a similar stand. "We don't want to throw oil on the fire," he said. "We consider these caricatures to be acceptable. They are not degrading for theProphet," unlike previous Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

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