PARIS - A French satirical magazine published Wednesday, January 2, a comic book biography about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him), a move expected to fuel anger in the Muslim world.
"There is no need to pour oil on the fire," French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told broadcaster France 2, dpa reported.
Charlie Hebdo magazine published Wednesday a comic biography titled The life of Muhammad.The Wise Leader (Peace be upon him)
The satirical weekly says the series are based on texts written by Muslim commentators and will neither be a caricature nor a satire.
"It is a biography authorized by Islam since it was edited by Muslims," said Stephane Charbonnier, the magazine's publisher and the comic's illustrator, who goes by the name Charb.
He argued that the caricatures "absolutely halal," using the Arabic word for actions and things deemed permissible under Islamic law.
"I don't think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate," he told AFP last week.
The author argues that the idea of the biography came in 2006 after a Danish newspaper published a number of drawings about the Prophet.
"Before having a laugh about a character, it's better to know him, Charb said.
As much as we know about the life of Jesus, we know nothing about Muhammad.
In September 2005, a Danish newspaper published 12 drawings, including one showing a man described as Prophet Muhammad with a turban in the shape of a bomb and another showing him as a knife-wielding nomad flanked by shrouded women.
The Danish cartoons had triggered massive demonstrations across the Muslim world and resulted in the boycott of Danish products and interests.
The reprint of the controversial drawings by European papers strained Muslim-West ties.
The crisis prompted Muslims in Denmark and worldwide to champion local campaigns to wash away widely circulated misconceptions about Prophet Muhammad.
The comic biography has already invited anger even before it is published.
"To transform the life of the prophet of Islam into a cartoon is in itself a mistake," Ibrahim Kalin, a senior political adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wrote on his Twitter account.
"Whatever the people at Charlie Hebdo say, this is a provocation."
Insulting the Prophet is considered blasphemous in Islam.
Charlie Hebdo has a long reputation for being provocative.
In September, the French weekly published cartoons displaying a man said to be the prophet as naked.
The cartoons came amid turmoil in the Muslim world over an American-made movie defaming the Prophet.In 2011, the office of the magazine was firebombed after it published an edition "guest-edited by Muhammad", which the satirical weekly called Shari`ah Hebdo.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net