France to shut schools, embassies amid Muhammad cartoon row

France's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that it would close its embassies as well as French schools in 20 countries on Friday, amid fears of a backlash after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo "published a series of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad." Authorities didn't disclose the list of countries where they would close embassies, but the closures are scheduled for Friday — the main day of prayer for Muslims — suggesting that the order would apply mainly to Muslim nations. The magazine's headquarters in Paris were also placed under police protection, as French authorities feared the cartoons "could cause more outrage in the Muslim world, days after a low-budget film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad sparked violent protests at U.S. and other Western embassies in several Muslim countries."



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