The Arab League and Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious educational institution, have condemned the massacre at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in the first reactions from the Arab world to the attack that reportedly killed at least 12 people and injured 10 when two unidentified gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikov rifles in its Paris offices shouting “Allah Akbar,” or “Allah is great.”
The Arab League is an umbrella org. of independent Arab States that includes Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry and Dar Al-Ifta, the country’s institute which issues fatwas, or Islamic religious edicts, have also both separately condemned the massacre in which famous French cartoonists and caricaturists Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, and Stéphane Charbonnier, aka Charb, were among those killed.
“Egypt stands by France in confronting terrorism, an international phenomenon that targets the world’s security and stability and which requires coordinated international efforts,” Sameh Shokry said in a statement.
Dar Al-Ifta, which in 2005 issued a fatwa against Danish cartoons satirising Islam, also expressed its condemnation of the attack, “whether it is religiously-motivated or stemmed from reckless actions,” said Ibrahim Negm, a spokesman for the institute, in a statement, according to a report in The Cairo Post.
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Negm called on all Islamic organizations in France to officially condemn this crime and “to explain the Islamic vision regarding the respect of the right to freedom of expression as a basic guarantor for the democratic process in the whole world,” the Cairo Post said.
He also urged the French government to protect Muslims living in France from retaliation.
In 2006 Charlie Hebdo magazine sparked huge controversy following the publication of 12 caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. In 2011, the magazine was fire-bombed after publishing a special issue titled “Charia Hebdo” with a caricature of Prophet Muhammad on the cover. Two years later, Charlie Hebdo published a comic book biography of Islam’s founder.
The French magazine’s most recent tweet displayed a cartoon mocking ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.