POSTERS for the new Borat filmed have sparked fury across some Muslim communities in France.
The posters, emblazoned across Paris's busses, feature a semi-naked Brit actor Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a ring with the word "Allah" written in Arabic.
It comes as freedom of speech wars in France reached new heights after Emanuel Macron incensed Islamic communities by defending publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Visual representations of the Prophet are frowned upon in Islam and can be extremely offensive.
Furious Parisians took to social media to slam the "offensive" posters, calling them "provocative and "lacking respect".
The controversy follows three devastating terror attacks in the country, including the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, 47, who was killed after showing a cartoon of Prophet Mohamed published in satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to students.
Bus drivers in the region – who are largely Muslim – have slammed the movie's campaign and called for them to be removed from their busses, French media reports.
According to EN24 a viral tweet saw one bus driver filming the actor's ring and saying: "We will scratch the poster".
But bus network RATP said "under no circumstances" would the posters be removed.
However, another bus company – TICE – whose services operate in Every, a majority-Muslim area, did remove the posters.
But a spokesperson for the company insisted they had not bowed to public pressure, adding the posters were removed because the poster's "offbeat humour was judged by the TICE management to be inappropriate".
TICE also rubbished claims several vehicles bearing the posters had been subject to vandalism, saying the incidents were common around Halloween.
The tongue-in-cheek mockumentary films which follow clueless Kazakh television present Borat Sagdiev on various escapades around the US have been no stranger to criticism, with the Kazakh American Association blasting Mr Baron Cohen for "racism, cultural appropriation and xenophobia".
But the row comes at a dangerous time for France, following the recent string of devastating attacks.
Two people were attacked with a meat cleaver outside the former Charlie Hebdo offices, where French news agency for Première Lignes is now based, in Paris on September 25.
Prime Minister Jean Castex described the fresh attack as "highly symbolic".
And the press agency's founder Paul Moreira chillingly said some people still believe Charlie Hebdo is based in the office block.
Charlie Hebdo was also just months ago subjected to new threats by Al-Qaeda as it republished controversial cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammed.
And in October, two attacks took place in Nice and Paris inside a church and a Cathedral.
Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker kept shouting "Allahu Akbar" even after he had been shot – and said it has all the hallmarks of a "terror attack".
France, a secular state, has been locked in a battle with its large religious population for decades.
In 2011 the country imposed a ban on face veils, and schoolchildren are also prohibited from wearing headscarves.
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