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ISLAM

Death threats and new editions stoke mag row

An inquiry has been launched after graffitied death threats to satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were found in the town of Albi, in the south of France, as editors reveal they will publish two versions of the paper this week: a "responsible" and an "irresponsible" one.

Graffiti daubed in blue paint on a community centre spotted by police reportedly read “death to Charlie Hebdo”, “for the prophet”, “we are going to kill you” and “death to the USA”.

Violence erupted over the cartoons of Muhammad in a sensitive area of the town on Saturday night. Police were called out at 11pm to burning vehicles and wheelie bins.

Meanwhile, editors at the magazine have revealed this week’s edition will have two copies – a “responsible” one, for those who criticised the publication of cartoons last week, and an “irresponsible” one, which will be a “normal Charlie Hebdo”.

Editor in Chief, known just as Charb, said the two copies will be written by the same staff but have completely different content. Some 100,000 copies will be published – 25,000 more than usual.

The magazine came under heavy criticism for publishing cartoons of the Muslim prophet last week. European MP Daniel Cohn-Bendit called the editors “idiots” and “masochists”, while France’s Christian Democratic party said the “put the lives of others at risk”.

Charb said: “[you will see] in the responsible edition what people like Cohn-Bendit want to read.”

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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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