September 19th, 2012
07:37 AM ET

French diplomatic missions, schools closed in 20 countries, Foreign Ministry says

French embassies and schools will be closed in about 20 countries Friday as a security precaution, French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, after the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons apparently depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Magazine director Stephane Charbonnier said his staff is "not really fueling the fire," but rather using its freedom of expression "to comment (on) the news in a satirical way."

"It happens that the news this week is Mohammed and this lousy film, so we are drawing cartoons about this subject," Charbonnier told CNN affiliate BFM-TV on Wednesday. "It's more turning in derision this grotesque film than to make fun of Mohammed."

The "lousy film" he's referring to is "Innocence of Muslims," an amateurish, 14-minute video that mocks the Prophet Mohammed as a womanizer, child molester and killer. The video drew international attention last week and spawned heated protests in more than a dozen countries.

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Filed under: France
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. majav

    Isn't that a discriminatory stereotype, anticipating violent outlash just because they're Mooslim? It is a religion of peace, I've been informed by many credible sources. The French should desist from all freedom of speech and not take any provocative measures.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Johny Utah

    the moderate muslims are silent and that means they agree with the violence...

    September 19, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalid

      The moderate Muslims are silent because they are busy doing other stuff like going to work, doing groceries, cooking, cleaning, helping kids do the homework, packing lunches, etc.

      September 19, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Johny Utah

    islam does not believe in freedom of speech. They believe in shoot now and aim later.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalid

      It's not your fault. You are from Utah!!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Johny Utah

    majav: you said this: The French should desist from all freedom of speech and not take any provocative measures? must be a muslim and you hate freedom of speech at any level.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robert

    This is a public safety issue. People could die because of this stupid stunt. They know this will probably lead to violence, and they did it anyway. I'm all in favor of free speech, but deliberately provoking people known to be extremely violent and irrational is simply irresponsible.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Cal

      Hi Robert, I agree with you in general but in this specific case the publication that ran the cartoon is a satirical magazine. If they normally satirize anyone and everyone but start drawing the line at material that will offend Muslims, then they will in effect be saying that they are willing to give up their right to free speech whenever anyone threatens them with violence. I know, I know...sadly, the victims of the violence will likely be innocent people. In my opinion, France has a serious problem with their Muslim population that they really need to get under control before it gets even worse. If anyone in France commits violence over this cartoon, the should be jailed and, if not a French citizen, deported. As for Americans and other westerners working in embassies in Islamic countries, I feel sorry for them but they all knew the risk they were taking when they took their jobs since anti-American violence frequently breaks out in these nations.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tallulah

      Robert, the problem is that if the West submits to the violence, then it trashes freedom of speech in principle. And by it's submission, it accepts the idea – all denial to the contrary – that those who threaten violence get to set the terms. That leaves all of those who have been abiding by the rules of individual rights on the short end of the stick. How about if, instead of publishing rebuttals on websites, in periodicals and speaking out in public forums every time someone insulted Christianity or Jesus, Christians decided to use violence to get their way? If my fellow Objectivists and I rioted and killed a few people every time Ayn Rand or her philosophy was GROSSLY misrepresented by opponents, should people stop misunderstanding her and expressing their erroneous interpretations and objections? Should they just shut up saying what they think about it? Should they stop satirizing it? Should the willingness to commit violence and even murder confer on people the power to set the terms? Or should it be met with severe repercussions?

      I say the latter.

      September 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred

    I think every country in the world should follow suit.

    What are they going to attack every embassy? Good luck with that strategy.

    September 19, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Wilson

    Muslim leaders should stop this violence!

    September 19, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Of course they should. And of course, we know they won't. In their warped minds, killing people over a stupid cartoon is perfectly sensible. You cannot talk rationally to these people. Free speech is fine and dandy, but printing this silly cartoon is putting innocent people's lives at risk. Leave these people to their perverse "faith" and stop provoking them.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. sajad kashmiri

    i think such type of activity is directly a war against muslims ..... Every Muslim in this world whether he is Moderate or Fundamentalist is prefer to die rather to see insult to their Propher Mohammad ( peace be upon him).

    September 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalid

      Not every Muslim. I am a Muslim but I would rather spend time with my family and friends instead of dying because of a stupid film.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Cal

      There are millions of Muslims living here in the United States and as you might have noticed, no violent riots have broken out over this movie. The vast majority of Americans (of every religion) value free speech more than they value never having to hear anything offensive said about their religion.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Tallulah

      Sajad, what does the Koran and other Islamic texts have to say about unbelievers? Do Imams ever preach anything that could be insulting to Jews? Christians? Hindus? Buddhists? Atheists? Does it ever insult their doctrines, their treasured beliefs? Do Muslims ever make satirical cartoons against belief systems they disagree with?

      You say: "i think such type of activity is directly a war against muslims"

      No, it is not a war against Muslims. It is satire, disagreement, an expression of contempt by a non-believer who – either mistakenly or correctly – believes that Mohammad did evil things, and that he urged his followers to do those same things, such as force unbelievers to submit to Islam or die. In the West, satire and humor against views a person thinks are wrong or bad is not a declaration of literal war. They are an invitation to argument. The moral and acceptable way to respond to such satire, if you believe the satire is false and unjust, is to SPEAK out, explain where the error is. You respond to intellectual attack with intellectual rebuttal, not violence.

      To initiate physical violence against someone because he insults and outrages what you love is to behave like an uncivilized barbarian who does not know how to defend his values with reason.

      You said: " ..... Every Muslim in this world whether he is Moderate or Fundamentalist is prefer to die rather to see insult to their Propher Mohammad ( peace be upon him)."

      Really? If that's true, that's horrible. Do you really care so much what other people think about your beliefs that you'd rather die than hear insults? Why does what others think about you and your religion matter, as long as you are free to practice it?

      Or... are you really saying that you and fellow believers are willing to die while *killing* those who insult Mohammad, rather than see Mohammad insulted? That is evil.

      No one wants to make war against Islam except to defend themselves against Muslims who initiate violence against non-believers. If Muslims want to be left in peace, they should leave others in peace to believe what they choose. If Muslims want to be left in peace, they should defend against insults to their religion and their prophet with argument, with evidence, with facts. And if is the facts that non-believers think deserve satire, just ignore the insults and go your own way in peace. As Jesus said, wash the dust of their village from your feet and walk away.

      The world is full of people who disagree with each other. As long as religious and other opponents don't initiate force against each other, we can live in peace together. We can argue with each other all day long, and no one gets hurt, except perhaps for hurt feelings. But as soon as someone *initiates* force, the other side has the right to defend against that force. Then it becomes a life-or-death physical fight. It become real war.

      Why would anyone want to have a real war just because someone makes fun of what he believes?

      Does Islam require you to kill people who insult your prophet? If so, it is evil. And I have the right to state that fact without being murdered.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tallulah

      Also, I agree with Khalid and Cal. There are plenty of Muslims that are happy to live and let live.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Caveman

    I always tell this to elites never bother someone living in a cave or sleeping under a rock!

    September 19, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Caveman

    ...but if they are a threat just drone or nuke them.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    Word, Robert! They are hiding behind free speech in order to do what they say they aren't: Fueling the fire! The movie is bad enough, now French cartoonists feel the need to "satyrize" the events! How do you satyrize people dying!? This is insulting to Muslims & the injured & killed! Just because you Can do something doesn't always mean you Should!!

    September 19, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      The French cartoons are correct. The battle started by Muslims a long long time ago, is being exposed for what it is...and being joined!

      September 19, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Akim

    Trash and haters are coming out of the hearts full of garbage, yet claims clean and civilized!!!

    September 19, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. david

    i say kill every muslim in the world would b a better place we might see peace a good muslins is a dead muslins

    September 19, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. oldngray

    With additional expressed freedoms by those who mock "The Prophet", Islamists will eventually become desensitized to this foolishness and laugh at us instead of shoot at us. That should be the goal. The alternative is to hide in your confessional and keep quiet.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |

    Kudos to you France.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Akim

      Kudos to Trash!!

      September 19, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
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