Magazine Publishes Naked Cartoons of Prophet Mohammed

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 19 2012 9:16 AM

French Mag's Naked Cartoons of Mohammed Prompt Riot Fears

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Policemen stand guard in front of the building which houses the headquarters of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, on September 19, 2012 in Paris, some hours after the release of its new issue

Photo by Fred DuFour/AFP/GettyImages.

A French magazine published naked cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday, further stoking anger in the Muslim world and prompting fears of violent demonstrations at French embassies abroad like the ones that broke out at American ones over an obscure, anti-Islam film that portrayed the prophet as a a pedophile-appeasing, bumbling spreader of false doctrine.

The magazine in question, Charlie Hebdo, is no stranger to Muslim anger. The satirical weekly's headquarters was firebombed last year after it announced plans to put a caricature of Mohammed on its cover. The paper's editors responded to the attack with another cover, this one an illustration of one of the paper's male cartoonists passionately kissing a bearded Muslim man.

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This time around, the cover shows an Orthodox Jew pushing a turbaned Mohammed in a wheelchair. Inside, things get a good deal more racy. Reuters with the details:

"On the inside pages, several caricatures of the Prophet showed him naked. One, entitled 'Mohammad: a star is born', depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals."

While the French magazine has only a relatively small circulation (55,000, by this count), that is unlikely to do little to soothe Muslim anger. The riots that have spread to around 20 countries in the Middle East and elsewhere are believed to have been sparked in large part by Innocence of Muslims, an obscure film that few people had actually seen in the theaters.

The magazine apparently published the cartoons against the urging of the French government, which plans to temporarily shutter schools and embassies in about 20 countries on Friday as a precautionary measure. (Why Friday? Protests tend to be more common after Muslim prayers on that day.)

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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