* French premises abroad closed; Paris on alert
* Cartoons have stoked Muslim fury over anti-Islam film
* National Front wants ban on Muslim veils, Jewish kippas
By Brian Love
PARIS, Sept 21 France confirmed on Friday it
would allow no street protests against cartoons denigrating
Islam's Prophet Mohammad that were published by a French
magazine this week.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects throughout the
country had orders to prohibit any protest over the issue and to
crack down if the ban was challenged.
"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will
be banned and broken up," he told a news conference in the
southern port city of Marseille.
The main body representing Muslims in France appealed for
calm as the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo put a new print run
of the cartoons featuring a naked Mohammad on the news stands.
The drawings have stoked a furore over an anti-Islam film
made in California that has provoked sometimes violent protests
in several Muslim countries, including attacks on U.S. and other
Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. envoy to Libya and a
suicide bombing in Afghanistan.
French embassies, schools and cultural centres in some 20
Muslim countries were closed on Friday, the Muslim day of
prayer, in a precaution ordered by the French government.
Police were on alert in the French capital after protests
planned by some Muslim groups were banned.
Mohammed Moussaoui, leader of the French Muslim Council
(CFCM), described both the film and the cartoons as "acts of
aggression", but urged French Muslims not to take to the streets
for unauthorised protests.
"I repeat the CFCM's call not to protest. Any protest could
be hijacked and counterproductive," he told French radio station
Charlie Hebdo, an anti-establishment weekly whose Paris
offices are under police protection, defied critics to rush out
another run of the publication that sold out in minutes on
It says the cartoons are designed simply to poke fun at the
uproar over the film and on Friday hit back at critics accusing
it of deliberately stirring controversy to sell newspapers.
"If Charlie Hebdo wanted to make a quick buck, it would not
produce Charlie Hebdo," it said on its Twitter feed.
The publication, whose origins date back to the 1960s
protest movement, has a print run of around 70,000 but its
Mohammad cartoons have made front-page news in a country which
has both the largest Muslim and Jewish populations in Europe.
So far there has been little street reaction in France but
authorities are concerned they could compound the worldwide fury
over the privately funded, California-made video depicting
Prophet Mohammad as a lecher. Police occupied strategic
positions in the capital but kept a relatively low profile.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front,
called in Le Monde for a ban on the Muslim veil and the Jewish
When Valls, the Interior Minister, confirmed the ban on
protests over the cartoons, he also said: "Neither will I allow
street prayers, which have no place in this republic. And
naturally the law will apply to anyone who wears the full face
France has banned women from wearing full face veils in
President Francois Hollande's government has sought to
balance a cherished tradition of freedom of expression with
security concerns, denouncing Charlie Hebdo as irresponsible.
"When you are free, in a country like ours, you always have
to measure the impact of your words," French European Affairs
Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.
French media showed footage of an embassy protected by
soldiers and barbed wire in former French colony Tunisia, where
the Islamist-led government has also banned protests over the
cartoons. About 100 Iranians protested outside the French
embassy in Tehran on Thursday.
In Germany, which has a large Turkish community, the
satirical magazine "Titanic" circulated a preview of its October
edition with a cover linked to the Mohammad film saga.
The photomontage shows the wife of a former German president
in the clutches of a bearded, dagger-wielding man in a turban -
a satire on a book by former first lady Bettina Wulff about her
husband's resignation over the couple's murky finances.
"The West in Uproar: Bettina Wulff Making a Mohammed Film,"
runs the headline.