Nearly half French oppose publishing Mohammad (PBUH) cartoons: poll

Published January 18, 2015
Photo shows the statue “Triumph of the Republic” with a man holding a giant pencil, symbolising freedom of expression as a French flag waved nearby,during the solidarity march on January 11. — Reuters/file
Photo shows the statue “Triumph of the Republic” with a man holding a giant pencil, symbolising freedom of expression as a French flag waved nearby,during the solidarity march on January 11. — Reuters/file

PARIS: Almost half of French oppose publication of cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), according to a poll Sunday, as global debate deepened on the limits of free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings.

The Ifop poll found 42 per cent believe Mohammad (PBUH) cartoons seen as offensive by many Muslims should not be published. Fifty per cent said they backed “limitations on free speech online and on social networks."

Read: Editor among 12 killed in attack on Paris weekly

However, 57 per cent said opposition from Muslims should not prevent the cartoons being published, according to the poll, published in Le Journal du Dimanche.

The poll found overwhelming support, 81 per cent, for stripping French nationality from dual nationals who have committed an act of terrorism on French soil.

Sixty eight per cent favoured banning French citizens from returning to the country if “they are suspected of having gone to fight in countries or regions controlled by terrorist groups,” such as Syria.

Also read: New Charlie Hebdo flies off shelves

The same percentage backed bans on people suspected of wanting to join jihadist movements from leaving France.

However, 57 per cent of respondents to the poll opposed French military intervention in countries including Libya, Syria and Yemen.

The poll was conducted last week in the wake of the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, where Islamist gunmen killed 12 people, saying they were taking revenge for repeated publication by the magazine of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) caricatures.

Also read: Three churches burned in Niger during Charlie Hebdo protests

On Saturday, five people were killed and churches were set on fire in Niger in the latest protests by Muslims against Charlie Hebdo's decision after the massacre to print another Mohammed cartoon.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the violence in Niger while President Francois Hollande called freedom of expression “non-negotiable”.

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