Pakistan, Turkey Join Taliban in Condemning Charlie Hebdo Cover

Leaders from Pakistan and Turkey joined Afghanistan’s Taliban militant group today in condemning Charlie Hebdo’s decision to caricature the Prophet Muhammad on its first magazine cover after last week’s terrorist attack.

Pakistan’s lower house of parliament unanimously passed a resolution condemning the cartoon of Muhammad published yesterday, according to state-run Pakistan Television. In a separate statement, the Taliban decried Charlie Hebdo’s staff as “enemies of humanity.”

“Freedom of speech should not be used to hurt religious sentiments of any community,” Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, according to a text message from his office. “Publication of provocative material should be discouraged by the international community.”

Selling out in some kiosks by morning, the first edition since the Jan. 7 assault at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office features a cartoon of a crying Muhammad holding a board saying “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie,” a phrase adopted around the world to show support for the magazine. The cartoon is entitled “All is Forgiven.”

Twelve people were killed in the initial attack on the satirical weekly, which had received threats because of an earlier depiction of Muhammad. After a manhunt for the killers, 17 people were dead in Paris’s deadliest attacks in more than half a century.

“If someone is printing a cartoon insulting the prophet, there is a provocation,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.

The Pakistani resolution called for the United Nations and European Union to pass laws to ensure such caricatures aren’t published, Pakistan Television reported, citing proceedings.

The Afghan Taliban said the Charlie Hebdo killings were “justice” for publishing cartoons of Muhammad.

“We strongly condemn this repugnant and inhumane action,” the Taliban said in an e-mailed statement, referring to the latest cover. The move is “opening the door to provoking the sensitivities of nearly one and a half billion Muslims.”

About 3 million copies of the special issue were printed. A third of those killed were journalists at the publication, who had received threats because of an earlier depiction of Muhammad.

Militants have recently stepped up attacks in the South Asian region. The Pakistani Taliban murdered 134 students last month in one of the nation’s worst-ever strikes, an attack that united the nation behind an anti-terrorism campaign.

An escalating insurgency across Afghanistan, meanwhile, threatens to undermine the government led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. Violence has killed and wounded about 10,000 civilians last year, according to the United Nations.

“In the name of religious freedom, there is a conspiracy happening in France,” Khawaja Saad Rafique, Pakistan’s minister for railways, who tabled the motion, told reporters. “We call on all religions of the world to condemn this so that prophets are respected in the world.”

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