The French government has increased security at its official sites abroad after a Paris-based satirical magazine published obscene caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
Embassies and schools will be closed in 20 countries over the next few days.
The editor of the “Charlie Hebdo” magazine claimed that in France is is permissible to draw caricatures of anyone. He suggested religion is treated like philosophy in France and so a caricature of Mohammed is considered exactly the same as a caricature of Karl Marx.
He claimed the caricatures were published to play on the uproar over the amateur video mocking Islam as well as the row over the topless holiday shots of the UK’s Duchess of Cambridge.
But a spokesman for the Anti-Islamophobia Observatory said it amounted to provocation and claimed the magazine wants to make money out of Muslims.
There have been no reports of reactions on the streets of France so far.
However, after the recent deaths of the US envoy and three others in Libya in violence prompted by the amateur video, the French government is clearly taking no chances.