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French weekly prints Prophet Muhammad drawing

Satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo insists the special issue is a properly researched and educational work.
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2013 12:55
The Charlie Hebdo offices were fire-bombed after it published cartoons on the prophet last September [AFP]

A French satirical magazine, whose offices were fire-bombed after it published cartoons on the Prophet Muhammad last September, has published a 64-page special issue with cartoons on the life of Islam's founder.

The editor of Charlie Hebdo weekly insisted that the publication titled "The Life of Muhammad", which was published on Wednesday, was a properly researched and educational work prepared by a Franco-Tunisian sociologist.

Prior to publication, Stephane Charbonnier, who was also the illustrator of the book, said "I don't think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate".

He told the AFP news agency last week that "It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims."

On Monday a senior political advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the work as a deliberate provocation.

"To transform the life of the prophet of Islam into a cartoon is in itself a mistake," Ibrahim Kalin wrote on his Twitter account.

"Whatever the people at Charlie Hebdo say, this is a provocation."

French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told broadcaster France 2: "There is no necessity to pour oil on fire."

The magazine has on several occasions published cartoon versions of Islam's prophet in what it claims to be an effort to defend free speech, to the fury of many Muslims who believe depicting Prophet Muhammad is sacrilegious.

In September Charlie Hebdo published cartoons as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film made in the United States on the prophet.

In 2011 the magazine's offices were hit by a fire-bomb and its website pirated after publishing an edition titled "Charia Hebdo" featuring several Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

Charbonnier, who has received death threats, lives under police protection.

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