The French satirical weekly "Charlie Hebdo" published on Wednesday a series of cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad.
The series of cartoon comes amid rising tensions after clips of a low-budget anti-Islam film were posted on the internet. Since the first protests in Egypt last Tuesday more than 30 people have been killed.
The French government called for restraint on Tuesday after learning that the satirical weekly would publish cartoons of the Prophet. It also announced on Wednesday that it will close embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday because of fears of a hostile reaction to the magazine's publication.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a statement in which he expressed his "disapproval of all excesses" and called for everyone to act "responsibly" and avoid inflaming the current situation.
This is not the first time Charlie Hebdo publishes cartoons of the Muslim prophet. Last November the Paris offices of the paper were attacked after publishing mocking caricatures.
In 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet sparked a wave of protests across the Muslim world resulting in the deaths of at least 50 people.
Asked about the publication, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday any provocation now could only be condemned.
The magazine's editor denied he was being deliberately provocative.
"We do caricatures of everyone, and above all every week, and when we do it with the Prophet, it's called provocation," Stephane Charbonnier, told the 24-hour news channel i>TELE.