The French government has announced its intention to close embassies and consulates in 20 Islamic countries on Friday 21 September, after offensive cartoons of the prophet Muhammad were published by a French magazine.
Demonstrations in the affected countries often happen after Friday prayers, triggering the decision to close ?premises, embassies, consulates, cultural centres and schools," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Travellers to Islamic countries, especially in the Middle East, have been advised to exercise extreme caution when in public places and to avoid any potential demonstrations.
The announcement comes after worries that it could further increase tension caused by the release of an anti-islamic video in the US. The video caused demonstrations and violence in a number of islamic countries, including Egypt and Libya.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has refused to take action against the magazine Charlie Hebdo, as the French state guarantees freedom of expression.
However, he added that "If people really feel offended in their beliefs and think there has been an infringement of the law - and we are in a state where laws must be totally respected - they can go to court."
Any requests to hold demonstrations in the French capital, Paris, will also reportedly be refused, following a violent demonstration last weekend outside the US embassy.
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