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Morocco bans French publications that reprinted cartoons of the Prophet

Moroccan authorities on Wednesday banned the distribution of certain French publications that had reprinted offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including those in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

An official at the Ministry of Communication, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Anadolu agency that other French publications took the decision not to distribute their editions in Morocco today following the decision.

On Wednesday, Charlie Hebdo published its first edition since the bloody attack on its headquarters in Paris last week that left 12 people dead. The front page of the magazine featured a cartoon of a tearful Prophet Mohammad with a sign reading "Je suis Charlie", ("I am Charlie") below the headline "Tout est pardonné" ("All is forgiven").

Moroccan authorities last week banned the distribution of several French newspapers and magazines that reprinted images of Prophet Muhammad previously published by Charlie Hebdo.

The minister of communication and government spokesman, Mustafa Al-Khalifi, said the government had rejected to offer distribution licenses to some foreign newspapers that reprinted cartoons considered offensive to the Prophet. This was done in the light of Article no.29 of the Press and Publishing law in Morocco, which allows the communication minister to ban the distribution of foreign publications that include material insulting to Islam, the monarchy, territorial integrity or public order.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry earlier pointed out that Morocco did not participate in the Paris anti-terrorism rally on Sunday because of the bellicose nature of the material published by Charlie Hebdo.

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