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US criticizes French magazine over cartoons

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10:11 CEST+02:00
The White House on Wednesday questioned the judgment of a French weekly that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, but said the decision was no justification for violence.

"We have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this," White House spokesman Jay Carney said, while adding "it is not in any way justification for violence."

"We don't question the right of something like this to be published, we just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it," Carney said.

The decision by the French weekly Charlie Hebdo to print obscene cartoons depicting the prophet, came as fresh protests erupted in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film made by extremist Coptic Christians in the United States.

Security was reinforced at French missions and other institutions in countries feared most at risk of a hostile reaction to the French cartoons.

French Embassies, consulates, cultural centers and international French schools in around 20 countries will be closed on Friday in case they are targeted in demonstrations following weekly Muslim prayers.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that as yet no decisions had been made regarding US embassies on Friday, as the situation was being evaluated "on a day-today basis."

"Obviously we're in very close touch with our French allies as they evaluate their security posture," she said.

US embassies in Tunis, Tripoli, and Sanaa were closed on Wednesday, she confirmed, and while consulates in the Pakistani cities of Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi were closed the embassy in Islamabad was open.

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"We're talking to the French. I'm obviously not going to get into our security assessment other than to say this is one of the things we're factoring into our look at security going forward."

The cartoons drama erupted a week after violent reactions to the film "Innocence of Muslims" which targeted US missions throughout the Muslim world, including an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi which killed the US ambassador to Libya, and three other diplomatic staff.

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