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French expats fear rising tide of anger

[ 2012-09-21 11:05] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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Tens of thousands of French expatriates in Muslim countries face a nervous weekend amid fears they could be swept up in a rising tide of anger over controversial depictions of Muhammad.

Protests that have left more than 30 people dead in the last week have, until now, largely been targeted at the United States, which has had to carry the can for the California-produced Innocence of Muslims film.

But French ministers fear the focus could shift to Paris' overseas outposts following a satirical weekly's publication of cartoons featuring obscene images of the founder of Islam.

Embassies, consulates, cultural centers and international French schools in around 20 Muslim countries will be closed on foreign ministry orders on Friday for fear of retaliatory violence following weekly prayers.

The satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo featured several caricatures of the Prophet showing him naked in what the publishers said was an attempt to poke fun at the furore over the US film.

In Tunisia, French schools were shut down from Wednesday through next Monday after Muslim leaders branded the cartoons a "new attack" on their religion.

The shutdown also came into force early in Egypt, where schools were to close for the weekend beginning on Thursday.

The moves reflect concern about the volatility of countries still reeling from the aftermath of last year's "Arab Spring". An attack last week on a US consulate in Libya left the ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other officials dead.

Iranian students protested outside the French embassy in Teheran on Thursday, a day after the French magazine published the cartoons, Iranian media reported.

The protesters shouted "Death to France, death to America" and held placards urging the French people to demand their government respect sacredness and humanity, Fars News Agency said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

French expats fear rising tide of anger

About the broadcaster:

French expats fear rising tide of anger

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.