* Man, 18, questioned after threat made on Facebook
* French satirical magazine published Mohammad cartoons
* Police ban Paris rally against anti-Islam film
PARIS/MARSEILLE, France Sept 20 Police detained
a young man in southern France on Thursday on suspicion that he
was planning a revenge attack on the staff of a satirical
magazine which published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad.
Anti-terrorism magistrates near the Mediterranean port city
of Toulon questioned the 18-year-old after he threatened in a
message on Facebook to cut the throats of anyone he could find
at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a judicial source said.
The magazine's publication of cartoons ridiculing Mohammad
added to the anger of Muslims already outraged over an
anti-Islam film produced in the United States and posted on the
The suspect had no police record but he was already known to
security services, the source said, without giving further
Police in France are on high alert for attacks by Islamist
militants. They were criticised for failing to stop an al
Qaeda-inspired gunman shooting dead seven people in March,
including three Jewish children, in the southern city of
The shooter, Mohamed Merah, had been interviewed by police
after returning from a visit to Afghanistan and had a violent
The government, which has criticised the cartoons, plans to
shut schools and diplomatic offices in 20 countries on Friday as
a precaution against protests after attacks on U.S. and German
embassies, some of them deadly.
Police have refused a request to hold a protest against the
film in Paris, after some 150 participants in an illegal
demonstration near the U.S embassy were arrested on Sunday.
France has Europe's largest population of Muslims.
"People in the suburbs are very upset over the publication
of these cartoons," said Mohamed Mechmache, head of the ACLEFEU
association for urban youths, created in the wake of riots that
swept French suburbs in 2005.
"They feel there is a double standard when it comes to free
speech: it's okay to mock the Prophet, but we can't protest
against it ... All it would take for things to spiral out of
control is a police check that goes wrong."
In another incident which might exacerbate strains, an
18-year-old young French woman was sentenced to two months in
jail for refusing to comply with a police identity check while
she was wearing a banned full-face veil in public.
The woman resisted police when they asked to check her
identity in front of a mosque in central Marseille in July,
during the holy Muslim fasting period of Ramadan.
Under a French law from 2010, a person wearing a "burqa" or
"niqab" style full-face veil can be stopped by police. If she
refuses to remove her veil, she can be fined or sentenced to
community service. Repeat offenders face jail.
In addition to being jailed and receiving a six-month
suspended prison sentence, the veiled woman was ordered to pay
damages of 1,000 euros ($1,300) to a female police officer whom
she bit during the altercation.
Two young men who were accompanying the woman were also
sentenced to two months' jail for fighting with police when they
tried to carry out the identity check.