French weekly reprints cartoons

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The Independent Online

A satirical French weekly today reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed that have sparked violent protests worldwide, a day after a court ruling cleared the way for their publication.

Charlie-Hebdo ran the drawings originally published by a Danish newspaper, as well as a new caricature of its own that took up its entire front page.

Under the headline "Muhammad overwhelmed by the fundamentalists," the cover depicted the prophet with his head in his hands, remarking, "It's hard to be loved by idiots."

On Tuesday, a French court threw out a lawsuit by five Muslim organizations aimed at blocking the paper from publishing the drawings. The court refused to examine the issues in the case and threw out the suit on technical grounds. It said the public prosecutor's office, which is always represented in French courts, was not properly notified of the case.

Several other French newspapers have printed the original Danish caricatures that have led Muslim demonstrators to set fire to the Danish embassies in Syria and Lebanon, and to rally in Indonesia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the drawings shows Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb.

Leaders in France — which has highest European population of Muslims with about 5 million — have pleaded for reason to prevail on all sides, while defending media freedom.

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