The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed “shock and dismay” over the French cartoons of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) as the Muslim world is boiling with anti-West sentiments. On September 19, French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) amid widespread outrage over a US-made film that insults Islam’s holiest figure, and has sparked days of protests in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and some Western countries. OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu warned in a statement on Thursday that the move would "further exacerbate the ongoing turmoil and violence created by the release of the anti-Islam film (Innocence of Muslims)," which has sparked an outrage among Muslims and followers of other religions across world.
"The French weekly should pay heed to the concerns of the international community on incitement and intolerance of religious beliefs," he urged, calling on the international community to take "serious note of the dangerous implications of hate speech and inciting publications and come out of hiding behind the excuse of freedom of expression."The head of the Islamic body further condemned the film and the cartoons for their "deliberate, motivated and systematic abuse" of freedom of speech and posing "a clear and present danger to peace, security and stability in the region as well as the global context." The US-made anti-Islam movie triggered days of huge demonstrations across Iran, Turkey, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Australia, Britain, the United States, France, Belgium, Australia and some other countries, with US embassies targeted by enraged protesters. On September 11, demonstrators in Libya attacked the US consulate building in the city of Benghazi. US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three staff members were killed in the incident. Officials in Paris now fear that the focus of furious anti-West sentiments could now shift to France and its diplomatic missions overseas following the publications of the blasphemous cartoons. The French Foreign Ministry has ordered embassies, consulates, cultural centers and international French schools in around 20 Muslim to close on Friday for fear of mass protests. MRS/JR