Iyad Madani, Saudi leader, claims that a team of lawyers is studying European and French laws to take the necessary legal measures against Charlie Hebdo.

JEDDAH – The Islamic Cooperation (OIC), based in Saudi Arabia, is planning to sue Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, following its recent publication of the Prophet Mohammed.

The head of (OIC), based in Jeddah, has condemned the publications as “an idiotic step that requires necessary and legal measures”.

According to Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, an individual is entitled to the right to freely express their views as part of a healthy democracy. This ‘freedom of expression’ however, comes with great responsibility, and has both moral and legal limitations.

Madani told a Saudi newspaper: “OIC is studying Europe and French laws and other available procedures to be able to take legal action against Charlie Hebdo“.

He also said, “If French laws allow us to take legal procedures against Charlie Hebdo, OIC will not hesitate to prosecute the French magazine.”

“Freedom of speech or expression must not become [. . .] hate speech and must not offend others. No sane person, irrespective of doctrine, religion or faith, accepts his beliefs being ridiculed”, he also added.

Many Muslims across the world have been deeply offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Charlie Hebdo has indeed hurt the sentiments of Muslims across the world.

Many political leaders in the Muslim world have spoken up in condemnation of both the violent acts and the cartoons published.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi said, “offensive words might lead to further bloodshed”.

Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani, condemned Charlie Hebdo as blasphemous and irresponsible, and also condemned the attacks of the innocent victims in Paris, stating that terrorism “has nothing to do with Islam in any way”.

In the capital cities of Algiers, Karachi and Sanaa, protests were held outside their respective French embassies.

In Egypt however, the al-Noor Party, formed after the 2011 Egyptian revolution, denounced the Charlie Hebdo publications on its French language Facebook page.

The statement said: “just as the al-Noor Party rejects the assault on civilians and the negative effects it has for all Muslims of Europe, it also rejects this barbaric, irresponsible act under the name of freedom of expression”.

At a freedom of speech rally in Bradford, the British politician, George Galloway, condemned the killing of the innocent victims: “No person, no human being should be subjected to violence, still less death for anything that they have said, written or drawn”, he said.

“So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun [. . .] cartoons.”

“These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and, by extension, 1.7 billion human beings on this earth, and there are limits.”

“There are limits. There [are] limits to free speech and free expression, especially in France.”

Charlie Hebdo sought “to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered”, he argued.

— Ferhiyo Ismail Ali, Correspondent (Asia: Middle East & Central)

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