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Paris police ban Grand Mosque protest

Paris police have banned two demonstrations planned for Saturday, including one in front of the city's Grand Mosque, to protest against a US-made anti-Islam film, a police source said.

Paris police ban Grand Mosque protest
Photo: Jean-Pierrre Dalbera

An individual had made an official request to police to hold the demonstration about the film that has sparked protests across the world but was refused permission, the source said.

If the individual tries to hold the march he faces six months in jail and a fine of €700 ($900), the source noted.

France's interior minister has said he will ban all protests over the low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims" after a violent demonstration last weekend near the US embassy in Paris.

But social networks were awash this week with appeals for Muslims in France, home to western Europe's largest Islamic community, to defy the ban and hold fresh protests in Paris, Marseille and other major cities.

Tensions were heightened when the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday published obscene cartoons that mocked both the film and the Prophet Mohamed.

The protests that have left over 30 people dead in the last week have, until now, largely been targeted at the United States, which has had to carry the can for the California-produced "Innocence of Muslims".

But French ministers fear the focus could shift to Paris's overseas outposts following publication of the cartoons featuring obscene images of the founder of Islam.

Embassies, consulates, cultural centres and international French schools in around 20 Muslim countries will be closed on foreign ministry orders Friday for fear of retaliatory violence following weekly prayers.

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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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