PARIS, France (Thu, Sep 20) - According to BBC New; France has decided to close temporarily its embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools in 20 Muslim countries because of fears of a hostile reaction at a French magazine's publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.
|France to shut down cosulates in 20 countries over blasphemous material published in magazine|
Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly, printed the Muslim prophet in pornographic poses, a move which was decried by the French government as pouring “oil on the fire.” In preemptive response to possible backlash, France immediately closed its embassy and school in Tunisia, where deadly protests raged in front of the American embassy last week.
In France, the government said it won't allow street protests against the cartoons.
"We live in a land where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including that of satire," Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said in an interview on RTL radio today. "We also live in a land of rights, and if people feel they have been offended they can take it to the courts."
The last time the same magazine published such kind of cartoons, its Paris offices were firebombed.
The French government is calling for restraint and has condemned the magazine for publishing the cartoons.
Sydney Morning Herald