Blasphemous cartoons’ reproduction ‘racist act’

Updated 15 January 2015
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Blasphemous cartoons’ reproduction ‘racist act’

CAIRO: Egypt’s Grand Mufti warned the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday against publishing blasphemous material, saying it was a racist act that would incite hatred and upset Muslims around the world.
Charlie Hebdo is due to publish a front page on Wednesday showing a sacrilegious caricature in its first edition since gunmen attacked the weekly’s offices in Paris last Wednesday.
“This edition will cause a new wave of hatred in French and Western society in general and what the magazine is doing does not serve coexistence or a dialogue between civilizations,” the office of Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, one of the region’s most influential clerics, said in a statement.
“This is an unwarranted provocation against the feelings of ... Muslims around the world.”
The mufti described the attack on Charlie Hebdo as “terrorist” and Egypt’s Al-Azhar has referred to the attack as a criminal act.
The grand mufti’s office called on the French government to reject what he called the “racist act” by Charlie Hebdo, accusing the newspaper of seeking to provoke “religious strife... and deepen hatred.”
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused the West of hypocrisy. “The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia,” he said.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told members of Parliament Tuesday that France is not at war against Islam and Muslims. “France is at war with terrorism, jihadism and radicalism,” he said.
Separately, thousands of people joined German political and religious leaders at a Muslim community rally against Islamophobia on Tuesday.
Speakers at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate remembered the victims of the Paris attacks and called for religious tolerance and unity.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and half of her Cabinet were among the guests at a wreath-laying ceremony outside the French Embassy and listened as an imam recited Qur’anic verses condemning the taking of life.
Sending a rebuke to a growing anti-Islamic movement in Germany, she said: “Hatred, racism and extremism have no place in this country. We are a country based on democracy, tolerance and openness to the world.”


Russian court extends detention of Belarussian model

Updated 1 min 7 sec ago
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Russian court extends detention of Belarussian model

  • Both Washington and Moscow publicly shrugged off Vashukevich’s story, which the US State Department described as “bizarre”
MOSCOW: A Belarusian model who claimed she had proof of Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign, had her detention in Moscow extended by three days by a Russian court on Saturday.
Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, has been held for questioning since Thursday after she was deported from Thailand as part of a group convicted of participating in a “sex training course.”
“The court has decided to extend her detention by 72 hours,” judge Natalya Borissenkova was cited as stating by the Ria Novosti news agency.
She denied the accusation of prostitution, telling the court that “I am not guilty of what I am accused,” Interfax reported.
In a case that veered between salacious and bizarre, Vashukevich has said she had traveled to Thailand after becoming embroiled in a political scandal with Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska — a one-time associate of US President Trump’s disgraced former campaign director Paul Manafort.
She then set tongues wagging by promising to reveal “missing puzzle pieces” regarding claims the Kremlin aided Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory.
But the material never surfaced and critics dismissed the claims as a publicity stunt.
Both Washington and Moscow publicly shrugged off Vashukevich’s story, which the US State Department described as “bizarre.”
She had been in custody in Thailand since a police raid in the sleazy seaside resort of Pattaya early last year.
She was arrested at Moscow airport on Thursday after being deported from Thailand where she had spent a year in prison for participating in a “sex training course.”
During the hearing in Moscow, she said she did not want to “in any way compromise Oleg Deripaska.”
“I have had enough,” she added, according to Interfax.
Her lawyer Dmitry Zatsarinsky, told reporters that his young client “has committed no crime” and had “nothing to do with” Deripaska and “still less with Donald Trump.”
On Friday he denounced her arrest, which happened while she was in transit from Thailand on her way to Belarus.