ANKARA: A senior Turkish government official lashed out yesterday at plans by a French satirical newspaper to release a comic book biography of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), calling it a “provocation” and advising Muslims to ignore it.
The reaction from Ibrahim Kalin, a close aide to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came a day after satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo announced plans to release a comic biography of the Prophet tomorrow that the paper said would be researched and educational.
“Charlie Hebdo’s editor says the cartoons won’t be offensive to Muslims. Turning the prophet of Islam into a cartoon character is itself wrong,” Kalin said in a message on Twitter.
“No matter what Charlie Hebdo people say, this is a provocation. My advise to Muslims: ignore it. Don’t give them what they want.”
Charlie Hebdo has on several occasions depicted Islam’s prophet in what it says is an effort to defend free speech, defying the anger of Muslims who believe depicting the Prophet is sacrilegious.
The newspaper’s publisher and the comic’s illustrator, who goes by the name Charb, said on Sunday: “It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims.”
The biography was compiled by a Franco-Tunisian researcher known only as Zineb, Charb said.
The publisher said the idea for the comic book came to him in 2006 when a newspaper in Denmark published cartoons of Mohammed, later republished by Charlie Hebdo, drawing angry protests across the Muslim world.