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Abbas orders probe into West Bank Mohammed cartoon

04 february 2015, 10:40

 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has ordered an investigation into a drawing of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed which appeared in a West Bank newspaper, local media reported Tuesday,AFP reports.

The cartoon, which appeared Sunday in Al-Hayat al-Jadida, depicted what appeared to be a giant Mohammed standing on top of the world, sprinkling grains of love and acceptance from a heart-shaped satchel.

Palestinian news agency Wafa quoted Abbas as deeming it "necessary to take deterrent measures against those responsible for this terrible mistake."

Depictions of the prophet are considered forbidden in Islam.

A cartoon of the prophet on the cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January -- a week after a deadly attack on its office in Paris by Islamist gunmen -- provoked outrage across the Muslim world, with leaders condemning the drawing.

Abbas joined world dignitaries including Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu on a symbolic march through the streets of Paris days after the attack.

Mohammad Sabaaneh, who drew the Al-Hayat al-Jadida cartoon, told AFP it was "misunderstood," without elaborating.

In a post on his Facebook page, however, he explained he was trying to defend Islam "using the same methods as those who seek to insult the prophet -- cartoons."

The newspaper apologised in its Tuesday edition for the cartoon, and said it had opened an internal investigation into why it was published.

But it denied the figure in it was meant to be Mohammed.

An editorial staff member at the newspaper told AFP on condition of anonymity that "Sabaaneh wanted to show through the drawing the grains of tolerance and love of Islam, incarnate as a man.

"The aura of light around him in the cartoon is the legacy left to Muslims by Mohammed."

Sabaaneh told AFP in an interview last month that physical attacks on those who insulted the prophet were despicable.

"You have to react in kind, combating idea with idea, cartoons with cartoons -- not through murder," he said.

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