Governments and Islamic authorities across the Middle East have denounced the latest issue of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo after its decision to depict the Prophet Mohammed on its cover.
Egyptian religious authority Dar al-Iftaa said on Tuesday that the new cartoon is “an unjustified provocation to the feelings of the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, who love and respect the prophet.”
A spokesperson from the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on the French publication but was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report, “We disapprove of provocative moves and this weekly’s undertaking is insulting and will provoke the feelings of Muslims.”
The Gaza-based Hamas terror group denounced the French magazine, asserting that its publication was part of a global conspiracy led by the anti-Muslim “Zionist lobby.”
“We condemn the latest publication of Charlie Hebdo, which has caricatures offending the Prophet Mohammed,” spokesman Fawzi Barhoum stated, according to Channel 10 news.
“The way the Israeli newspapers have dealt with the issue, with the blessing of the US secretary of state, is clear evidence that there is a plot, directed by the Zionist lobby, targeting Muslims, their culture, and the tolerance toward them by Western countries.”
Barhoum added that the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo is “a dangerous act.” He said that “all these campaigns against Islam, the Muslims and the Prophet Mohammed must end.”
The new issue of Charlie Hebdo is the first publication of the magazine following a terror attack last week carried out by radical Islamist Cherif and Said Kouachi. In total, 12 people were killed in the attack. The brothers declared the attack as revenge for the various time the weekly magazine has published cartoon depicting Mohammed.
The attack was followed by the murders of four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday in a second terror attack by a co-conspirator of the Kouachi brothers.
The twin terror attacks drew global condemnation and prompted a unity rally in the French capital, where it is estimated 1.6 million people attended. The march was led by 50 world leaders and diplomats, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Across France, people lined up hours before the release of the magazine. While an initial 3 million copies of Charlie Hebdo were printed on Wednesday, they sold out within the first few hours of its release. Publishers printed an additional 2 million copies to meet the demand.
The cover depicted a weeping prophet holding up a sign that reads, “Ju suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) under the headline, “All is forgiven.”