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Qatar warns blasphemous sketches will 'fuel hatred'

Qatar “condemned the reprinting by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and other European press of pictures offensive to Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him),” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Freedom of speech does not mean insulting others, hurting their feelings, and mocking their religious beliefs and idols,” said the statement published by the official QNA news agency.

“These disgraceful actions are in the interest of nobody and will only fuel hatred and anger,” it warned, describing them as a “violation of human values of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, justice, and respect among people.”

The new issue of the French magazine, published on Wednesday, features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) on its cover holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven”.

It was the first edition of Charlie Hebdo to be published since Islamist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on its Paris offices on January 7.

Qatar, accused of backing radical Islamists, urged Western media “to respect others and their beliefs and to steer away from intolerance and extremism, and to commit to the values upon which Western civilisation was built.”

The magazine, which normally has a print run of around 60,000, said on Wednesday that it would print five million copies this week because of unprecedented demand. The magazine sold out across France within minutes of publication.

The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, criticised the “world’s shameful and unexcused silence” on the “insulting of religions”.

In a statement released late Thursday it warned of “heavy consequences of continuing to insult Islam, the Koran, and the prophet”.

“No sane person could accept inciting sedition under the name of freedom of expression,” it said.

The association urged “peaceful demonstrations” against offending Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) and called for “Muslim governments to intervene and demand an international law by the United Nations that criminalises offending religions and prophets.”

The Qatari government and Qaradawi’s group — which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood — were both quick to condemn the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo. -AFP



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