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Top Muslim body warns new Muhammad cartoons will ‘stir hatred’

Al-Azhar center says drawings set to be published in Charlie Hebdo magazine are an ‘unjustified provocation’

A man reads, in a newsroom in Paris, the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 13, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/Bertrand Guay)
A man reads, in a newsroom in Paris, the latest issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 13, 2015 (photo credit: AFP/Bertrand Guay)

CAIRO — Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious center of learning, on Tuesday warned that new cartoons published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will only serve to “stir up hatred.”

The drawings “do not serve the peaceful coexistence between peoples and hinders the integration of Muslims into European and Western societies,” the Cairo-based body’s Islamic research center added in a statement.

The latest edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine that is to go on sale on Wednesday features a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad and mocks the Islamist gunmen who murdered many of its staff last week.

Al-Azhar was among the first Muslim groups to condemn last Wednesday’s attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo by Islamist gunmen who killed 12 people, including five cartoonists.

At the time, it condemned the “criminal attack” and said “Islam denounces any violence.”

Earlier on Tuesday, however, Egypt’s state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, denounced as a provocation the new cartoons in Charlie Hebdo.

“This action is an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims,” it said.

“This [magazine] edition will result in a new wave of hatred in French and Western society. What the magazine is doing does not serve coexistence and the cultural dialogue Muslims aspire to.”

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