Former Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute, a devout Muslim, has called the publication of cartoons of a naked Prophet Mohammed in a French magazine "a provocation".
"They are a provocation, but provocations are also made by some Muslims. It is an attempt to do harm and sometimes the reactions of some Muslims are not positive," he said in an interview published Wednesday in Spanish daily El Pais.
"I think that the West and the Muslim world still have not learned how to live together. That is the problem," the French-born Malian footballer, who now plays for Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, added.
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons last week, as often violent -- and sometimes deadly -- protests continued against an anti-Islam film made in the United States that has enraged many Muslims.
Kanoute, 35, converted to Islam when he was in his early 20s.
He reportedly paid over $700,000 (545,000 euros) to buy a privately owned mosque in Seville in southwestern Spain which was due to be sold after a contract to use the premises by the local Muslim population had expired.
While at Sevilla, Kanoute refused to wear a strip bearing the name of club sponsor 888.com, a gambling website, because he said gambling went against the principles of Islam.
In June, the 2007 African Footballer of the Year joined Beijing Guoan on a two-year contract after seven successful years with the Spanish side.
During his time in Spain, he helped Sevilla to win two Uefa Cups, one Uefa Super Cup, two Copa del Rey trophies and one Spanish Super Cup.© ANP/AFP