Charlie Hebdo: Muslim leaders around the world condemn depiction of Prophet Mohamed in new cartoon as Iran calls cover 'extremely stupid'

The edition has been hailed by the French press

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The Independent Online

Muslim leaders around the world have condemned the publication of a new Charlie Hebdo magazine which depicts the Prophet Mohamed in caricature on its front cover.

According to France’s AFP news agency, the Iranian government has described the cartoon as “insulting” and said publishing it was “extremely stupid”.

In a list of 10 guidelines for Muslims on how to respond to the latest edition of the controversial satirical magazine, the Muslim Council of Britain said it acknowledged they would “inevitably be hurt, offended and upset”.

“But our reaction must be a reflection of the teachings of the gentle and merciful character of the prophet (peace be upon him),” it added.

“Our aim is to not, inadvertently, give the cartoons more prominence through our attention. Muslims must remain calm and peaceful in their speech and actions,” the response reads.

The advice, signed by Imam Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain and Omer El-Hamdoon from the Muslim Association of Britain, among others, asked Muslims, as British citizens, “not [to] allow hate to creep into our hearts due to the horrific incidents in Paris”.

In Egypt, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)’s executive director Nihad Award was reported in local media as saying: “Just as Charlie Hebdo has the right to publish, we have the right to peacefully challenge negative portrayals of our religious figures.”

Dawud Walid, CAIR’s Michigan director, told CNN: “That the depiction appears benign is of little consequence because it will be seen as offensive and deliberately provocative.”

In secular Turkey, there were reports that police intervened when a newspaper said it had decided to reprint a selection of Charlie Hebdo caricatures on Wednesday.

Journalists from the Cumhuriyet newspaper in Ankara said officers stopped trucks leaving their print works to check the paper’s content, only allowing them to proceed after it emerged they decided not to reprint the cover featuring the Prophet Mohamed.

Anjem Choudary, the London-based radical preacher who ran the now-banned al-Muhajiroun group, has described the cover as a “blatant provocation” and an “act of war”.

Meanwhile, according to the SITE intelligence group, social media accounts belonging to supporters of Isis and al-Qaeda have, somewhat predictably, used the cover as a pretence to encourage further cyberattacks and “lone wolf” terrorism.

The reaction from other newspapers in France to Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo has been largely positive.