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Prophet Muhammed 'To Guest Edit' French Satirical Magazine

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A satirical French magazine looks set to spark outrage in the Muslim world after it announced its Arab Spring special edition would be 'guest edited' by the Prophet Muhammed.

The periodical, 'Charlie Hebdo', said that the prophet would be editing the magazine in "honour" of Islam's role in this year's uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and other Islamic countries.

"In order fittingly to celebrate the Islamist Ennahda's win in Tunisia and the NTC (National Transitional Council) president's promise that sharia would be the main source of law in Libya, Charlie Hebdo asked Muhammed to be guest editor," the editorial team said in a statement.

In what is likely to cause further controversy, the magazine has renamed itself Sharia Hebdo for the edition and plans to put a picture of the prophet on its cover with the accompanying phrase: "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!"

The image of the cover is available to view on the magazine's website.

On the back cover the religious figure is depicted wearing a red nose, saying: "Yes, Islam is compatible with humour."

"We feel we're just doing our job as usual. The only difference is that this week, Muhammed is on the cover and that's quite rare," the magazine's publisher, known as Charb, told the AFP news organisation.

While there is some debate on allowing the visual depiction of Muhammed within Islam, many Muslims find it incredibly offensive.

There have been several cases in Europe of cartoonists, journalists and publishers being threatened or attacked after depicting cartoons and pictures of the religious figure.

Charlie Hebdo was taken to court in 2007 by two Muslim groups for reprinting those cartoons, but the suit was thrown out.

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