France tells expats in Muslim countries: watch out for cartoons backlash

This content was published on October 27, 2020 - 09:55

PARIS (Reuters) - France has warned its citizens living or travelling in several Muslim-majority countries to take extra security precautions because of a surge of anger over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed displayed in a French school.

French officials asserted their right to show the cartoons in an act of defiance after an 18-year-old student of Chechen origin beheaded a middle school teacher for showing the images to his pupils as part of a civics lesson.

The caricatures were considered blasphemous by Muslims, and in a number of Muslim countries, there have been rhetorical attacks on France's leaders accusing them of being anti-Islam and calling for a boycott of French products.

The French foreign ministry's website on Tuesday carried new safety advice to citizens in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania advising them to exercise caution.

In addition, the French embassy in Turkey issued similar advice to its citizens there. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been one of the most vociferous critics of the French government.

The advisories said French citizens should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.

"In this context, it is recommended to exercise the greatest vigilance, especially while travelling, and in places that are frequented by tourists or expatriate communities," the advisories stated.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe, editing by Larry King)

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