New Charlie Hebdo cover a 'test of patience': Indonesian Islamic group

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Though almost all moderate Muslims in Indonesia and worldwide condemned the deadly jihadist attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the same voices are expressing disappointment at the tabloid's decision to put the Prophet Mohammed again on its cover.

The front cover of the new edition that hit the newstands Wednesday, January 14, shows Prophet Mohammed holding a sign that says “Je suis Charlie”, or “I am Charlie”, the slogan that has been used by supporters around the world to express their support for freedom of expression. (READ: Charlie Hebdo survivors produce defiant edition a week after attack)

The words Tout Est Pardonne,” or “All is forgiven” can be seen above the slogan. 

'Test of patience'

Abdul Mu’thi, the secretary general of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, said he was deeply disappointed with the printing of another Prophet Mohammed cartoon.  

While he called on Muslims in Indonesia to exercise restraint against the tabloid, he said he deplored the move that might provoke Muslims. 

“Muslims need to exercise restraint. It will be better if we can look at it as a test of our patience,” Mu’thi said, according to state news agency Antara.

Mu’thi also said he was disappointed that the French government failed to prevent Charlie Hebdo from printing another issue depicting Mohammed. 

There must be some productive communication between France and other countries, especially from the Muslim world, so that any unexpected eventuality can be avoided in the future," he said. 

Charlie Hebdo has printed 3 million copies for its memorial edition, far beyond its regular circulation of only about 60,000 copies.

MASS GATHERING. People gather for a march against terrorism in Paris, France, 11 January 2015.

Frederik Vo Erichsen/EPA

'Unjustified provocation'

Indonesia's moderate Muslims are not the only one protesting the new cover. 

Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's most prestigious center of learning, warned that new cartoons would only serve to "stir up hatred."

The drawings "do not serve the peaceful coexistence between peoples and hinders the integration of Muslims into European and Western societies," the Cairo-based body's Islamic research center said in a statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, Egypt's state-sponsored Islamic authority, Dar al-Ifta, said the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo was "an unjustified provocation against the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims."

"This edition will result in a new wave of hatred in French and Western society. What the magazine is doing does not serve coexistence and the cultural dialogue Muslims aspire to," it said.

Attack condemned

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday condemned the deadly attack, although many see his statement as having come far too late 

Joko said the Indonesian government “condemned and lambasted” the violence. “However, when expressing ourselves [creatively] through writing or visuals, we must also remember to respect and appreciate one another’s differences,” Joko said on Monday, January 12, as quoted  by the Jakarta Globe.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) – the highest authority in Islam in the world's most populous Muslim nation – has also condemned the brutal terrorist attack, even as it said it objected to the magazine's content.

"We object to the content of Charlie Hebdo, although they are published on the basis of freedom of expression. But, it was not right to protest against the content of the French satirical weekly by murdering people. Their action goes against Islamic values because protests can be registered within the realm of law," MUIs Foreign Affairs and International Relations Chairman Muhyidin Junaidi said Thursday, January 8, according to Antara. —with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com