By Ramadan Al-Fatash
Cairo – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has called on France to take action against a magazine that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed as it did against another publication that ran topless pictures of the duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
The French government should take firm and swift action against the magazine, which offended religions and their symbols, the group said in a statement Thursday.
The French judiciary has already taken deterrent steps against a magazine that published offensive pictures of Kate Middleton and earlier against deniers of the Holocaust, it added
A French court Tuesday barred a magazine from publishing more pictures of the duchess.
Enraged Muslims Friday took to the streets in several countries to condemn the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo for printing cartoons portraying the prophet.
The demonstrations come days after violent protests sparked by an anti-Islam video made in the United States left 30 people dead including the US ambassador to Libya.
Western governments have frequently said such controversial material is part of freedom of expression, an argument rejected by Muslim leaders.
Let me make it absolutely clear: this is not about freedom of expression, this is more about hatred, and it also demonstrates blatant double standards, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told a rally in the capital Islamabad.
If denying the Holocaust is a crime, then is it not fair and legitimate for Muslims to demand that denigrating and demeaning Islam’s holiest personality is no less a crime? he added.
The Pakistani government has declared Friday as a public holiday and designated it a special day of love for the prophet.
We are coordinating with other Muslim countries as well. Our demand is simple: blasphemy of the kind witnessed in this case is nothing short of hate speech, equal to the worst kind of anti-Semitism or other kinds of bigotry, said Ashraf.
The Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference, the Arab and Muslim worlds’ biggest blocs, have called for a global charter banning blasphemy of all heavenly faiths.
In Islam, any depiction of the prophet is strictly banned and blasphemous
The prophet (Mohammed) is a red line for all Muslims, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood said in a televised address after angry protesters attempted to storm the US embassy in Cairo last week.
Anyone defaming the prophet becomes our enemy, he added.
Some liberal Muslims have criticized what they called thoughtless anger at perceived Western defamation of Islam.
In the West, disbelievers in religions and deniers of prophets are not punished. Penalty is only meted against the one who incites the people to hate followers of a certain religion. Still, this accusation has to be proven in court, said prominent Egyptian writer Alaa al-Aswani.
Had Muslims been aware of the West’s nature, they would have made use of the freedom of expression there and produced good films to introduce genuine Islam to the Western people who long for knowledge, al-Aswan, a bestseller novelist, wrote in the Egyptian independent newspaper Al Masry Al Youm.
Muslims did nothing of the sort. Instead they were gripped by thoughtless anger, behaved badly and sometimes committed crimes, which have confirmed the negative image promoted about them by the offensive films. – Sapa-dpa
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