Expect punch, Pope says on Charlie Hebdo cartoon

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Pope Francis has lashed out at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for the release of a new insulting illustration.

While en route to visit the Philippines on Thursday, Pope said that there should be limits to the freedom of expression.

“Expect a punch when you say a curse on my mother,” Pope said while referring to a recent cartoon featured on the front page of Charlie Hebdo, which clearly insult Islam’s most reverent figure, Prophet Mohammed.

“You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” Pope said.

He said that he accepts that the freedom of speech and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights, but he added that there should be limits and restrictions on offending and ridiculing the beliefs and faiths of others.

Muslims across the world have expressed their outrage at the French weekly’s release of inflammatory cartoons last Wednesday. Religious leaders across the world have also denounced the purely provocative move, calling it a direct insult to all Muslims.

Muslims in the Philippines, a majority-Christian country where Pope has arrived for a visit, also protested the publications of the drawings Thursday.

A January 7 attack on the office of the satirical magazine, which had in the past published cartoons insulting Islamic sanctities, left 12 people killed. The incident was followed by a series of other sieges and shootings in France, resulting in the killing of more people and an extensive sense of insecurity in the country.

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