France and its overseas postings remain on watch after the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons about the prophet Mohammed yesterday. With the Islamic world already on edge over a mysterious US-made YouTube video, the cartoons were expected to perhaps ignite more violence:
Many in the West worry that Charlie Hebdo’s publication of the cartoons of Muhammad will only serve to stir further anger in the Muslim world, which has already seen protests against “Innocence of Muslims.” The Monitor reported yesterday that the French government ordered enhanced security for its facilities abroad. France also announced that it will close its embassies, consulates, cultural centers, and schools in two dozen countries tomorrow. Friday is a day of prayer in most Muslim countries, and is when major protests tend to be held.
So far protests have been muted—a burning car here, a “Death to America” there in Afghanistan and Iran. However, the French press is greatly divided over Charlie Hebdo’s possibly inflammatory actions at a sensitive time. And you can’t say the magazine wasn’t warned: a year ago their offices were firebombed after a previous cartoon incident. And their website has been hacked already during this incident.