News / Europe

Magazine Cartoon Prompts French Embassy Closures

A riot policeman stands guard outside the French embassy in Cairo, September 19, 2012.
A riot policeman stands guard outside the French embassy in Cairo, September 19, 2012.
VOA News
France plans to close its embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in 20 countries Friday as a precautionary measure after a French satirical magazine published cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad.
 
The country's foreign minister says security is being increased at French diplomatic posts as government and religious leaders call for restraint.
 
The weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo featured several images of the prophet in its Wednesday issue, including several of him naked. Its offices in Paris were fire-bombed last year after it published a mocking caricature of Muhammad.
 
Also Wednesday, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that a request by organizers to hold a protest in Paris Saturday against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States will be refused.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is taking aggressive measures to protect its diplomats as protests against the film continue.

Video clip: Clinton on Diplomat Safety, protests


Demonstrations prompted the American consulate in the Indonesian city of Medan to temporarily close on Wednesday, following a similar move by the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand a day earlier. Protests also took place Wednesday in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad and in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
 
Clinton said Tuesday that officials are reviewing security at every post and adjusting as necessary.
 
She also says the Libyan government is helping American investigators probe last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other diplomats.
 
Fury about the low-budget film that insults the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests, some of them violent, including at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia.
 
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem has condemned the attack, saying political violence is not acceptable and that such an incident will never happen again. He promised to pursue those responsible for the violence.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rob Swift from: United Kingdom
September 20, 2012 3:12 PM
There is only one to fear and that is God. Fear of God is the beginning of all undertanding. The Way is the road that leads to Life. It is a narrow road. Free speech counts for little when it is by peoples deeds that they shall be known.(Deeds not words) It is just that the nutters are out at the moment, one mocks Mohammed with sick cartoons, another seeks to mock Christ with a piece of papyrus. The karmic law will prevail even against nutters and people of violence who follow them.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
September 20, 2012 1:53 AM
I'm sure freedom of expressing one's thoughts should be protected as a non-violated rights of humanbeings around the world. It's also an usual manner when what one's voice has harmed someone's heart without intention, senders should apologize to receivers. What I want to know is that what the purpose of this film maker mocking Islam was. Did he merely want to make fun of Muhammad? Or were there more deep motives as a Christian? He should account for his motive and thoughts on this uploading film. It's evident any violense is not allowed in any situation to protest. But if this film was posted just only to insult receivers, the maker cannot help balmed for recklessness and should apologize to Islams.

by: john from: german
September 19, 2012 10:57 PM
i really can't see any freedom of speech in islam world, can anybody see that ?
In Response

by: nik from: us
September 20, 2012 12:46 PM
john you mean you really cant see any freedom of hate speech in the islamic world. there is a huge variation between the freedom of responsible speech and hate speech.
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 20, 2012 10:36 AM
I agree with you.
What puzzles me (and probably many peoples as well ) is the behaviour of many muslims who live in the western world such as Canada, USA, EU, Australia etc..
Obviously they left the oppression , the intolerable way of life in the old countries ( the arab nations) for the reason of building a new future with more hope where freedom lives .
Somehow , once they get to live in the free world, they start to fall back to the opressive religious fanatism themselves (as if without it they would lose their identities) they abuse the freedom by starting all those nasty demonstrations with slogans of slaughter for the infidels (which are you , me and everybody else)
My relatives from Europe sent me pictures of these scenes and the mobs were absolutely blood thirsty.
I believe the western countries & other modern countries around the world should be very careful about accepting muslim immigrants

by: kafantaris from: USA, Ohio
September 19, 2012 7:11 PM
The key element of the right to free speech is that it be independent of its content, and that it be applied equally across the board -- no matter what the subject being discussed -- or who agrees or disagrees with what is being said.
The French government, therefore, violated this basic rule when it prevented Muslims from peacefully protesting in France. Though it may have done this to keep the peace, this is not a good enough reason to cut off free speech and peaceful assembly.
France should thus reverse course and allow Muslims to protest -- to prove its tolerance for dissent and to show how things are done in a mature, civilized country.

by: Maithe Gaspari from: Paris, France
September 19, 2012 5:38 PM
It's a shame that the US and Europeen governements seem afraid now as soon as muslims and arabs are concerned. What's happening to us? Are we so weak? We always should remember that our democratic rules are not their rules. Our way of thinking is not their way of thinking. Are we going to surrender ? Please wake up !

by: Responsibility
September 19, 2012 12:37 PM
Incredible in this present day, that this French magazine editor has not yet understood this kind of satirical publication, against the religion of Islam, evokes a worldwide response, which may likely result in violence to others including himself.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 19, 2012 7:50 PM
we need to fight for free speech, thumbs up to the french, give me liberty or give me death
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 19, 2012 5:50 PM
Really!
How about when the muslims destroyed the 1700 year old hundred feet tall Bamiyan buddha statues. Did you see any buddhists going rampant killing ambassadors and peoples from muslim countries ? of course not .

by: Ralph Hopkins from: Canada
September 19, 2012 12:05 PM
Western governments are in fear of Muslims. That is the lead sentence in nearly every story. German officials feared a public screening of the film as does the Canadian government. France has closed embassies and schools and has ramped up national security. The West has been infiltrated by an association bent on world dominance and Islam has unfortunately been forced to show its hand before it planned to, before they managed to get a critical mass in each Western nation. This movie has opened the eyes of Westerners to the fact that Islam and Democracy cannot co-exist.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 19, 2012 1:05 PM
Or do you mean that islam has become latest world power to be feared by all, including the big five? Has the rest of the world lost their independence to islam?

by: umish from: ft lauderdale
September 19, 2012 11:28 AM
it is freedom of speech.. When the islamist denegrate christians and jews that is ok becasue they dont riot, murder, attack embassies.. But you parody Islamists, the go bezerk and kill murder, burn embassies. Do not give an inch to their pathetic fanatisism and xenophobic mentality.
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 19, 2012 5:28 PM
I agree,
All I see is that billions of peoples of the islam faith did not drop a tear on the death of the US ambassador .
When you say nothing, you give the impression of approval.
I did not hear the muslim world reprimands the criminals . All i hear is because US does this or Us does that .

by: Michael from: USA
September 19, 2012 8:34 AM
Western powers have held to the policy of "damaging sanctions, lost privileged status" in Muslim countries, especially in Iran and this has set the tone for a backlash, more so than any film could. If any further action is taken against Iran for its nuclear project, unrest could make inroads into liberal democratic nations
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 20, 2012 11:46 AM
You really don't think you are in the infidel category list do you?
Many ethnics or religious groups had been wiped out for similar naivety when facing their intolerant uncompassionate aggressors in their days.
"unrest could make inroads into liberal democratic nations"
which country are we talking about?
What is you suggestion then ? sit , wring your hands and do nothing? keep apologize until they come to get you ?
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 19, 2012 1:12 PM
What a bullshit, bunkum, balderdash! Everyone knows Iran sponsors terrorism, but foolish countries allow it to control its citizens. Foolish because the destruction caused therefrom is not going to be the responsibility of the West after all. So who loses? By protests and mob actions issues that would have remained silent became public issues, and so this film received wider viewership than it deserved.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs