The new issue of Charlie Hebdo has sparked heated condemnation from some Muslim-majority countries, with some groups preparing to take to the streets this week to protest the French satirical magazine’s decision to feature a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on its cover. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is planning to stage protests after Friday prayers in Amman in response to the cartoon, the Associated Press reported.
The Brotherhood in Jordan strongly condemned last week’s Paris attacks that left 17 people dead after three gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket. But they also have condemned the “offensive” against the prophet, the group’s spokesman Murad Adaileh said.
In Pakistan, dozens of lawmakers chanted "death to blasphemers" at a march in front of parliament in Islamabad on Thursday. "All political parties are with us ... All Muslim countries should condemn these blasphemous cartoons,"religious affairs minister Sardar Yousaf said, according to NBC.
The Philippines has already seen demonstrations in Muslim areas of the country. On Wednesday, protesters marched in the mainly Muslim southern town of Marawi and burned images of the cover. Organizers said that “freedom of expression does not extend to insulting the noble and the greatest prophet of Allah,” according to the Guardian. A banner of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also set on fire during the protests, as many complained of the “double standard” of Western media practices.
Egypt’s premier religious institution, the Al Azhar mosque, has also publicly expressed its dismay at the cover. The image was a “blatant challenge to the feelings of Muslims who had sympathised with this newspaper” Abbas Shumann, the deputy to the mosque’s grand sheikh said, according to AP. However, Muslims should ignore the cover and respond by showing tolerance as an angry reaction “will not solve the problem but will instead add to the tension and the offense to Islam.”
Muslim communities in Europe have been urged to respond with restraint by faith leaders since the magazine’s new issue was released Wednesday. Dozens of British imams urged their followers to express their “justified displeasure at the mockery that is made of our faith” in a peaceful manner, according to the Guardian. Meanwhile, Muslim leaders appealed for calm in France, where copies of the new issue sold out in minutes.