Dozens of Iranian students demonstrate outside the French embassy in Tehran on January 20, 2015, in protest against a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that was published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
Doha (AFP) - A leading Islamic organisation has called on the United Nations to make "contempt of religions" illegal and urged the West to protect Muslim communities following the attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by influential preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, appealed to Muslims to continue peaceful protests against images of the Prophet Mohammed but "not to resort to any violence".
The latest cartoon of the prophet in Charlie Hebdo has angered many Muslims and triggered protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
In a statement released Tuesday, the union said there should be protection for "prophets" and urged Islamic countries to submit a draft law to the UN calling for defamation of religions to be outlawed.
The union said the UN should then issue a "law criminalising contempt of religions and the prophets and all the holy sites".
It also called for the West "to protect Muslim communities from attacks, whether they are citizens or residents or visitors".
The union has condemned the publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed holding a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven" in the first Charlie Hebdo edition since Islamist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on its offices.
It said that the new drawing would give "credibility" to the idea that "the West is against Islam" and warned the image would incite further hatred.
Qaradawi, 88, is seen as a spiritual guide of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood, the movement of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi.