The Citizen apologises for printing Muhammad cartoon

2015-01-15 11:22

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Johannesburg - The Citizen on Thursday said it had no malicious intent when it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad as seen on the front page of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine.

"It was an oversight, there were no malicious intents... it was not meant to offend anybody," the publication's editor Steven Motale said.

"We know that the use of the image of Prophet Muhammad is forbidden in Islam [and] we unreservedly apologise to those we offended."

Motale said they had only received a handful of complaints from readers and had not been pressurised into apologising.

On Thursday, the daily published a front page apology for offending its readers.

"The Citizen would never intentionally offend anyone's religious sensibilities, especially in the manner used by Charlie Hebdo magazine, several of whose staff members were murdered in Paris last week," it said.

"We deplore those killings, as we do any attempt to enforce censorship through violence. We uphold the right to free speech.

"Yesterday, in our continuing coverage of the Charlie Hebdo aftermath, we published an image which caused offence to many Muslim readers. We regret this oversight. We apologise to all who were offended."

Crying Prophet

On Wednesday, The Citizen published a photo of the front page of the latest edition of the magazine showing a crying Prophet Muhammad.

The prophet is shown holding a placard saying "je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie), with the headline "all is forgiven" above his head in French.

Afrikaans daily Beeld also published the image in its Wednesday edition and on Thursday published a photo of the magazine on a newsstand in France.

The magazine's surviving staff put out an unprecedented three million copies on Wednesday which were quick to leave the shelves, news agency Associated Press reported.

"Disappointed buyers were told to come back Thursday when more of the increased print run of 5 million copies will be available," it said.

Al-Qaeda claims attack

Last week Wednesday, two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi - reportedly linked to al-Qaeda - were named as those who staged an attack at the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Twelve people, including the editor and three cartoonists, other magazine staffers and two policemen were gunned down.

The al-Qaeda branch in Yemen has reportedly claimed responsibility for the Hebdo attack as retaliation for the magazine's frequent satirical portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad.

Read more on:    charlie hebdo  |  prophet muhammad  |  johannesburg  |  paris shooting  |  media

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