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PARIS (AP) -- Muslim leaders and politicians from all sides are
denouncing the firebombing that destroyed the offices of a French
satirical weekly (Charlie Hebdo) that "invited" the Prophet Muhammad as its guest editor.
But behind the public show of unity is a silent fear that the spoof could trigger a wave of violent protests among western Europe's largest Muslim population, and beyond.
No one was injured in the blaze that started around 1 a.m. Wednesday in eastern Paris, hours before the issue featuring a
caricature of Muhammad on its front page hit the newsstands. The
director of the weekly called the issue "a joke" and defiantly held up a copy of the paper as he stood amid the rubble. He vowed that next week's issue would be published.
Previous depictions of the prophet have caused major disturbances in Muslim countries. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)