1. Exterior of Sunni world's most prestigious institute, Al-Azhar, in Cairo, cars driving by
2. Abbas Shouman, Secretary-General of Al-Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars arriving to talk to journalists
3. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Abbas Shouman, Secretary-General, Al-Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars:
"We are sorry that this newspaper (French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo) has published a new cartoon with a deliberate large number of copies from few thousands to three million in a direct challenge to the Muslim population who were sympathising with the magazine, at the same time that the Al-Azhar had earlier condemned the attack on the magazine headquarters."
4. Cutaway of hands
5. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Abbas Shouman, Secretary-General, Al-Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars:
"We do not accept provocation to our religion or to our prophet, this act is denounced. But we are still calling on all Muslims to not react negatively and to ignore it completely."
One of Egypt's top Islamic authorities on Wednesday said he was sorry to see the publication of a new cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover of the latest edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The latest issue came a week after the assault by two masked gunmen at Charlie Hebdo's offices, which killed 12 people, including many of the newspaper's editorial staff and two police officers.
Speaking to journalists in Cairo, the Secretary-General of Al-Azhar's Council of Senior Scholars called for all Muslims to ignore the "provocation."
"We do not accept provocation to our religion or to our prophet, this act is denounced," said Abbas Shouman.
"But we are still calling on all Muslims to not react negatively and to ignore it completely."
Al-Azhar, the Sunni world's most prestigious institute, had earlier condemned the Paris attacks, saying violence in the name of religion is unacceptable.
The institute had also warned against publishing the cartoon on the latest issue, saying the image would only provoke Muslims.
Three million copies of Charlie Hebdo's latest issue were being delivered across France on Wednesday.
In Paris, the magazine sold out before dawn, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the paper.