French Magazine Publishes Muhammad Cartoons Despite Muslim Protests

Posted September 19th, 2012 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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A satirical French magazine on Wednesday published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a move that threatened to fuel violent protests that Muslims have launched worldwide after a low-budget film emerged from the United States mocking Muhammad.

The weekly Charlie Hebdo featured several images of the Prophet in its Wednesday issue, including several of him naked.

In response to the magazine's actions, the French government announced it is closing its embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in 20 countries Friday as a precautionary measure.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said officials questioned the editors' decision to publish the deeply offensive cartoons, but added that they did not question the right of the magazine to publish them. He also reiterated that any offense was “not in any way justification for violence.”

In Pakistan, hundreds of lawyers in Islamabad forced their way into the walled-off section of the capital that houses the U.S. and other foreign embassies in order to protest the anti-Islam film. There also were reports of protests in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Lebanon.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States is taking aggressive measures to protect its diplomats against the continuing protests.

She also said the Libyan government is helping U.S. investigators probe last week's attack on the American consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other diplomats.