DOHA, Jan 14 : A leading association of Muslim academics has criticised the decision by French weekly Charlie Hebdo to publish a new cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (SM), claiming it would "stir up hatred".
"It is neither reasonable, nor logical, nor wise to publish drawings and films offensive or attacking the prophet of Islam," the International Union of Muslim Scholars, based in Qatar and headed by preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, said in a lengthy statement.
The new issue of the satirical magazine, published on Wednesday, features a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (SM) on its cover holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven".
It was the first edition of the magazine to be published since Islamist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on its Paris offices last week.
Iran condemns 'insulting' Charlie Hebdo cover
Iran condemned on Wednesday the publication of a new cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (SM) by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying it was "insulting" and "provocative".
The magazine cover "provokes the emotions of Muslims and hurts their feelings around the world, and could fan the flame of a vicious circle of extremism," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham.
Iran denounced the massacre the day it occurred and Afkham said on Wednesday that such attacks "have no closeness or similarity to Islam" and are "in complete contradiction to Islamic teaching".
However she indicated that the new cartoon was "abuse of freedom of speech, which is common in the West these days."
Such publication "is not acceptable" and such "abuse should be prevented".
"Respecting the beliefs and values of followers of divine religions is an acceptable principle," she added.
Some followers of Islam feel any depiction of the prophet is sacrilege.
"Charlie Hebdo has again insulted the Prophet," Tabnak, a conservative website in Iran, said Tuesday.
Muslim groups in France have urged their communities -- which have already been targeted in dozens of incidents -- to "stay calm and avoid emotive reactions" to the cartoon.
Valls called in a speech on Tuesday for the country to pull together after the attack, arguing that "France is at war against terrorism, jihadism, radicalism... (not) Islam and Muslims".
Many Muslims consider images of the prophet, not least ones satirising him, to be blasphemous under Islam and Turkey's Islamic-rooted leaders in the past angrily denounced such cartoons. Charlie Hebdo had angered Muslims in the past by printing cartoons lampooning the prophet and Islam.
The new issue has already caused controversy within the Islamic world, raising fears of a repeat of the violent 2006 protests over the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (SM) printed in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
Muslims in Philippines march against Charlie Hebdo
Around 1,500 people protested in one of the Philippines' main Muslim-majority cities on Wednesday against the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (SM), police said.
Local politicians, teenaged students and women with veils covering their faces packed the main square in Marawi in the southern Philippines, some raising their fists in the air as a Charlie Hebdo poster was burnt. ?AFP