CAIRO: The Egyptian Dar al-Ifta stated Tuesday the depiction of the Islamic prophet Muhammad on the cover of the next issue of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo is “provocative and unjustified.”
Reuters reported Tuesday that the magazine’s next edition will display a cartoon depicting Muhammad holding a sign of “Je suis Charlie” and a tearful drops from his eye, adding the magazine’s lawyer Richard Malka said that the new edition would includes cartoons criticizing politicians and other religions.
Dar al-Ifta noted that such action could increase the feeling of hatred among the French society and what the magazine is doing “does not serve the co-existence and civilization dialogue of which the Muslims are seeking.”
Islam forbids its followers to depict God or any of the prophets, and Dar al-Iftaa issued a fatwa to that effect in 1980. Outlets that have published images of religious figures have often fallen under sharp criticism by Muslim organizations, and also been violently targeted by extremists.
On Jan. 07, 12 persons were killed when two armed gunmen shot their way into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters.
January’s attack was launched after the magazine published a cartoon criticizing the leader of the Islamic State Group Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi; one month previously it had published a cartoon showing Prophet Muhammad about to be beheaded by IS militias.
The magazine is expected to print more than 3 million copies for Wednesday’s edition after its circulation previously was targeting around 60,000 readers, Reuters reported.
A few hours after the magazine was attacked, Dar al-Iftaa spokesperson Ibrahim Nagm issued a statement condemning it: “Any attacks committed in the name of religion should cease immediately and that the merciful teachings of Islam abhor the killing of innocents.”
Dar Al-Ifta has previously denounced extremism practiced by Islamic militant groups in Egypt and abroad, that it has said has contributed to the growth of Islamophobia. The prestigious Islamic institute has launched in December an international campaign to “correct a distorted view of Islam.”
In his Sunday statement, Negm commented on the Paris attacks, saying that terrorism increases the burden on Muslims to rectify misunderstood concepts about Islam.
Dar al-Ifta issued another warning Monday of the rise of the Islamophobia against Muslims in the West, following a demonstration of 18,000 people in Dresden, Germany against what they called “Islamization of the West.”
“Dar al-Iftaa confirmed that such anti-Islam movements stand against the interest of western countries in the first place, because it stirs hatred and tension in the entire community. Consequently, it affects the societal peace, and spreads extremism and terrorism. Also, Muslims are undoubtedly part and parcel of the European fabric,” the statement said.
Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi