- Middle East/North Africa
Egypt's influential Muslim Brotherhood demanded Thursday that France act against cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohamed in the same way as against the topless pictures of Prince William's wife Catherine.
Its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, called for "firm and rapid measures against the (French) magazine" Charlie Hebdo which printed cartoons mocking the prophet on Wednesday.
The movement, from which President Mohamed Morsy emerged, pointed out that "the French judiciary has taken dissuasive measures against a magazine which published the photographs" of the former Kate Middleton, the British royal.
French authorities on Tuesday banned the magazine Closer from any further publication or resale of the pictures and launched a criminal investigation into how they were obtained.
The FJP also stressed "the tough stand (of French authorities) against those who deny the Holocaust" in France.
France has been bracing for a backlash following the publication of the Mohamed cartoons — two of which portray the founder of Islam naked — by Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly.
In anticipation of potential protests on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, Paris said it would shutter its diplomatic missions, cultural centers and French schools in around 20 Muslim countries.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said anyone offended by the cartoons could go to court, but he also stressed that in France "freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature."
Charlie Hebdo's editor, Stephane Charbonnier, accused the French government of pandering to its critics by criticizing the magazine for being provocative.