Belgian museum cancels Charlie Hebdo tribute on security concerns

22nd January 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Belgian museum dedicated to the creator of comic book hero Tintin said Thursday that security concerns prompted it to cancel an exhibition honouring the murdered Charlie Hebdo magazine cartoonists.

The museum in Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels said it took the decision after consulting Wednesday with police who foiled an Islamist plot in Belgium last week, which followed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

"The police presented us with the nature of the potential risks we need to be attentive to," said Nick Rodwell, director of the museum dedicated to the memory and works of Herge.

"We decided not to open our exhibition on Thursday morning insofar as it could raise the concerns of both museum staff and the residents of Louvain-la-Neuve," he said in a statement.

The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as the latest controversial caricature of the prophet Mohammed, published after the Paris attack.

Rodwell did not rule out reversing the decision if the alert level in Belgium decreases in the days and weeks ahead.

The government raised the threat alert to three on a scale of four after police conducted a series of raids January 15 to foil an Islamist plot to kill Belgian police.

A week before the raids, two Islamist radicals gunned down 12 people in an attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine which had lampooned the prophet Mohammed.

The cartoons of the prophet triggered Muslim anger worldwide and sparked death threats from jihadist groups.

Belgian authorities have established no immediate link between the plot in Belgium and the killing spree in Paris, which involved a third gunman who killed a policewoman and four Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket.

All three gunmen were killed by police.


© 2015 AFP

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