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Depiction of Mohammed on cover of latest Charlie Hebdo an 'act of war'

The depiction of the Prophet Mohammed on the front of Charlie Hebdo has been described as an "act of war" by a radical cleric.

The latest cover appears to show the Prophet Mohammed against a green background with a tear falling down his cheek, holding a sign reading Je Suis Charlie, replicating the phrase meaning "I am Charlie" which was used as a show of unity in the wake of the attacks.

Radical preacher Anjem Choudary said "ridiculing" Mohammed is attacking his personality, and said these actions are "extremely serious".

To depict Mohammed in this way is "attacking the honour of the Prophet" as most Muslims do not draw or depict Mohammed in any way because it is deemed to be sacrilegious.

He said if the "act of war" was to be tried in a Shariah Court it would carry capital punishment.

The lecturer in Shariah law, who was arrested last September as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism, described it as "blatant provocation".

Mr Choudary said insulting Islam and Muslims is "part of the war that is taking place".

He said people should be "sensible and sensitive to the emotions and the feelings of the Muslims", and accused authorities of refusing to "nip it in the bud".

Meanwhile, Omer El-Hamdoon, from the Muslim Association of Britain, said there are two aspects of the front cover which will offend Muslims - the actual depiction of Mohammed and then the satire element.

"Because he is held in high esteem, we find that any sort of publishing of cartoons would not really be suffice to present the person he is. And this becomes more problematic when the actual cartoon is actually out there to offend people, to actually make a satire out of this image," he said.

Mr El-Hamdoon said this would be the view of the "majority" of Muslims.

People have tried to depict the Prophet in the past, not in a satirical way, but even this would not be accepted by mainstream Muslims, he added.

Online Editors

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