FRENCH Muslim groups have called for calm and respect for freedom of opinion ahead of the release of the “survivors issue” of Charlie Hebdo magazine which features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
The French Council of the Muslim Religion and the Union of French Islamic Organisations released a joint statement on Tuesday calling for the Muslim community to “stay calm and avoid emotive reactions that are incompatible with its dignity … while respecting freedom of opinion.”
The new issue of Charlie Hebdo is to be published on Wednesday, a week after two jihadist gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical magazine, killing 12 people.
Its cover features the prophet with a tear in his eye, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven”.
Three million copies will be printed, with the magazine be published in 16 languages in 25 countries.
Depictions of Mohammed are seen by many Muslims as sacrilegious and Charlie Hebdo became a target for extremists after repeatedly printing cartoons of the prophet.
Freedom of speech … demonstrators hold a copy of Charlie Hebdo and a picture of late French cartoonist Charb reading ‘together against barbarism’ during a gathering in Toulouse on January 7