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ISLAM

Satirical French weekly names ‘Muhammad’ as top editor

A French satirical weekly said on Monday it has named the Muslim prophet Muhammad as "editor-in-chief" for its next issue to celebrate the election win of Tunisia's Islamist party.

The publication Charlie Hedbo also said the issue that comes out on Wednesday will be re-named “Sharia Hedbo” after senior transitional Libyan leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said that Islamic sharia law will be the basis of legislation under the country’s new regime.

“To fittingly celebrate the victory of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia … Charlie Hedbo has asked Muhammad to be the special editor-in-chief of its next issue”, the magazine said in a statement.

“The prophet of Islam didn’t have to be asked twice and we thank him for it,” the statement said.

The publication’s editor in chief and cartoonist Charb told AFP that “We don’t feel like causing further provocation. We simply feel like doing our job as usual. The only difference this week is that Muhammad is on the cover and it’s pretty rare to put him on the cover.”

Tunisia’s Ennahda won the most seats in the country’s October 23rd elections and is now trying to form a coalition caretaker government.

The Islamist party has vowed to work with Tunisia’s more liberal parties, and respect the country’s progressive approach to gender equality.

Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard who in 2005 drew 12 images of the prophet that appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten has been targeted by Islamists groups, who deemed the images offensive.

Westergaard has also been the victim of a murder attempt and numerous death threats.

ISLAM

Erdogan calls French separatism bill ‘guillotine’ of democracy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a planned French law designed to counter "Islamist separatism" as a "guillotine" of democracy.

Erdogan calls French separatism bill 'guillotine' of democracy
Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as "anti-Muslim". Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

The draft legislation has been criticised both inside France and abroad for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups.

“The adoption of this law, which is openly in contradiction of human rights, freedom of religion and European values, will be a guillotine blow inflicted on French democracy,” said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara.

The current version of the planned law would only serve the cause of extremism, putting NGOs under pressure and “forcing young people to choose between their beliefs and their education”, he added.

READ ALSO: What’s in France’s new law to crack down on Islamist extremism?

“We call on the French authorities, and first of all President (Emmanuel) Macron, to act sensibly,” he continued. “We expect a rapid withdrawal of this bill.”

Erdogan also said he was ready to work with France on security issues and integration, but relations between the two leaders have been strained for some time.

France’s government is in the process of passing new legislation to crack down on what it has termed “Islamist separatism”, which would give the state more power to vet and disband religious groups judged to be threats to the nation.

Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as “anti-Muslim”.

READ ALSO: Has Macron succeeded in creating an ‘Islam for France’?

Last October, Erdogan questioned Macron’s “mental health”, accusing him of waging a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, after the French president defended the right of cartoonists to caricature the prophet Mohammed.

The two countries are also at odds on a number of other issues, including Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

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