A French satirical magazine, whose offices were fire-bombed after it published cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed, on Wednesday published a comic book biography of Islam's founder.
The editor of Charlie Hebdo weekly has insisted that the new book, titled "The Life of Mohammed", was a properly researched and educational work prepared by a Franco-Tunisian sociologist.
"It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims," said Stephane Charbonnier, who was also the illustrator of the book whose front page shows the prophet leading a camel through the desert.
"I don't think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate," he told AFP last week. Charbonnier said the idea for the comic book came to him in 2006 when a newspaper in Denmark published cartoons of Mohammed, later republished by Charlie Hebdo, drawing angry protests across the Muslim world.
"Before having a laugh about a character, it's better to know him. As much as we know about the life of Jesus, we know nothing about Mohammed," he said.
Satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has on several occasions published cartoon versions of Islam's prophet in a declared effort to defend free speech, to the fury of many Muslims who believe depicting Mohammed is sacrilegious.
In September Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Mohammed as violent protests were taking place in several countries over a low-budget film made in the United States that insults the prophet.
In 2011 Charlie Hebdo's offices were hit by a firebomb and its website pirated after publishing an edition titled "Charia Hebdo" featuring several Mohammed cartoons.
Charbonnier, who has received death threats, lives under police protection.