The president of the representative body of France’s Jewish communities has condemned the new publication of caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The publication Wednesday of the caricatures in the French weekly Charlie Hebdo “in the current context” is “irresponsible,” Dr. Richard Prasquier, the president of the Jewish umbrella body CRIF, said in a statement.
The weekly published the caricatures in a defiant move it said was meant to celebrate freedom of speech after deadly riots that broke out in Muslim countries over the recent release of an anti-Muslim film titled “the Innocence of Muslims.”
The front page cartoon of Charlie Hebdo showed an ultra-Orthodox Jew and a Muslim saying: “No mocking.” It was titled “Untouchables 2,” a reference to a French film.
“Considering the fatalities [in riots connected with the film] we disapprove of the initiative of Charlie Hebdo,” Prasquier added. “The critics of religion must themselves heed criticism - not of their principles but of the timing of their actions.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius criticized the publication as a provocation and said he had ordered security beefed up at French diplomatic offices in the Muslim world.
Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices were fire bombed last November after it published a mocking caricature of Muhammad.
Over 30 people have been killed in the violent backlash over a 14-minute YouTube trailer for the film, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” believed to have been produced by a small group of extremist Christians in the United States.
In 2005, Danish cartoons of the prophet sparked a wave of violent protests across the Muslim world that killed at least 50 people.