Muslim leaders in Egypt have criticized the publication of caricatures about Prophet Muhammad in the French Charlie Hebdo magazine on Wednesday, seeing as a new insult to their faith, and urging the French government to take firm action.
"We reject and condemn the French caricatures which dishonor the Prophet and we condemn any action that defames the sacred," said a senior official in Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party (PJD), the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Essam al-Erian said that the French courts should address the problem with as much firmness as in the case of topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, published recently in an Italian magazine. "If the case of Kate is a matter of privacy protection, the cartoons are an insult to all people. Beliefs of others should be respected, "he said.
However, Erian is opposing any violent reaction from Muslims but believes that peaceful demonstrations are justified.
In Paris, the French government has expressed its concern and taken steps to protect its interests abroad after the publication of these caricatures. Mahmoud Gozlan, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood welcomed the criticism of the French government but said that Paris should legislate by drawing a parallel line with the law on Holocaust denial. "Anyone who doubts the existence of the Holocaust is imprisoned, but if someone insults the Prophet, his companions or Islam, the maximum punishment in France is an apology in two words. It is neither fair nor logical, "he said.