MUSLIM HATE FOR PLAYS
PARIS, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A play about the prophet Mohammed by the celebrated writer Voltaire has sparked outrage on the part of Muslims in the eastern French region of Gex, and in neighboring Switzerland.
At issue is "Mohammed or Fanaticism," a play penned by the famous 18th century French writer and philosopher that ostensibly represented anti-Muslim views of the time.
The local Muslim communities have requested that the play be withdrawn from theaters in Geneva and in the French town of Saint-Genis Pouilly, where it aired last week.
"This play is an explicit attack against the values of peace of Islam," Muslim associations wrote in a letter to French officials, according to a report in France's Le Figaro newspaper.
They reportedly wrote a similar letter to those in Geneva.
But Gex's deputy prefect argues Voltaire aimed to attack what he considered religious fanaticism by Catholics at the time -- which was in 1741.
The performance took place as scheduled last week, but not without incident.
In Saint-Genis Pouilly, a small group of protesters picketed the play. Others hurled rocks at police, and vandals set fire to a car and the entrance of a local junior high school.
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