French weekly protests Moroccan ban of religious issue

Paris - The highly respected French weekly L'Express on Monday protested the Moroccan government's ban of its latest issue on the grounds that it insulted the Islamic religion.

L'Express assistant editor-in-chief Christian Makarian said he "could not understand" last Friday's decision by the Moroccan information minister to prohibit shipment of the magazine into the country.

The issue in question, dated October 30, shows images of Jesus Christ and Mohammad on the cover, accompanied by the headline "The Jesus-Mohammad Shock."

"To show consideration for the religious sensibilities of our Moroccan readers, we took pains to create another cover specifically for our international edition, with Mohammad's face covered, in conformity with Islamic custom," Makarian said.

In the French edition, Mohammad's face is uncovered.

The magazine said the title story was conceived to coincide with a meeting, on Tuesday in Rome, of about 50 Christian and Muslim scholars to further the dialogue between the religions.

In banning the issue, Moroccan Information Minister Khalid Naciri had invoked Article 29 of the country's press code, which allows the government to ban any publication that, in its view, offends Islam or the Moroccan king. (dpa)