As of October 27th, France has been griped by protests, after French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism” and defended the right to publish religious caricatures.
Macron delivered a spirited defense of free speech and secular values after a French high school teacher was beheaded for displaying caricatures of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
He vigorously defended the controversial cartoons, saying they were protected under the right to free speech. He later added that “we won’t renounce the caricatures.”
„Samuel Paty was one of those teachers you never forget.“
Emmanuel Macron focused his speech at the national tribute on Paty as a person – and as a teacher. Macron said Paty now is „the face of France.“ pic.twitter.com/bQYmTsosXr
— Marina Strauß (@MrnStrauss) October 21, 2020
Macron also slammed “cowards” who gave Paty’s name to “barbarians” who then took his life. The remarks come just hours after prosecutors said they were seeking terrorism charges against seven people, including two teenage students, over Paty’s murder.
The students allegedly pointed out the teacher to the attacker in return for money.
Police have carried out several raids since the killing, while the government has ordered a mosque outside Paris closed for six months, and plans to dissolve a group it said supported Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Macron’s government is also planning a new bill to combat “Islamist separatism.” Macron has said that Islamists have created a parallel culture in France that rejects French values, customs and laws.
He also said that Islam is “a religion that is in crisis all over the world” and that Muslim positions are “hardening.”
As a result, protests took place across many cities in France.
He also caught the international eye, with many leaders of Muslim countries condemning Macron.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has said it rejected “offensive” images of any of Islam’s prophets.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects any attempts to link Islam with terrorism, and denounces cartoons offensive to the Prophet Muhammad or any of the other prophets,” a Foreign Ministry official said in a statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Macron needs a “mental health check” and accusing him of running an anti-Islamic agenda.
“You are in a real sense fascists, you are in a real sense the links in the chain of Nazism,” he said of Europe, comparing the treatment of Muslims in Europe to the Nazi treatment of Jews.
“Never give credit to French-labeled goods, don’t buy them,” Erdogan said.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said that freedom of expression should stop if it offends more than 1.5 billion people, following the display of images in France of the Prophet Mohammad that Muslims see as blasphemous.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Macron was encouraging anti-Muslim sentiment and was deliberately provoking Muslims.
There have also been protests held in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Gaza Strip, and Bangladesh.
The Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council of Elders said it was planning to launch legal proceedings against Charlie Hebdo and “all those who insult Islam.”
The Foreign Ministry in Iran has summoned the French charge d’affaires to strongly reject “any insult and disrespect to the prophet of Islam … and Islam’s pure values of Islam by any person regardless of their position,” according to state media.
France received support from European countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said:
“They are defamatory comments that are completely unacceptable, particularly against the backdrop of the horrific murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist fanatic.”
The prime ministers of Italy, the Netherlands and Greece also expressed support for France.
President Erdogan’s words addressing President @EmmanuelMacron are unacceptable. The Netherlands stands firmly with France and for the collective values of the European Union. For the freedom of speech and against extremism and radicalism.
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) October 26, 2020
In France, the protests aren’t the only thing taking place in terms of instability.
On October 29th, an attacker with a knife killed at least three people and wounded several others at a church in the French city of Nice, officials said, in an incident the city’s mayor described as “terrorism”.
Mayor Christian Estrosi, a former MP with the right-wing Republicans party, said on Twitter the knife attack had happened in or near the city’s Notre Dame church and that police had detained the attacker.
It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the Nice attack, or if there was any connection to the cartoons, which Muslims consider deeply offensive.
In Lyon, a Turkish and Azerbaijani crowd in the streets of Lyon voiced threats against the Armenians. Shouting:
“Where are you, Armenians?” and with words of hatred, they focused their attention on Armenian shops and cafes.
“We urge our compatriots to be vigilant, not to succumb to provocations and to cooperate with local law enforcement agencies,” Armenian media reported.
Points of instability are all around, and it is yet to be seen if any of the protests will also turn violent.
In addition, around noon French time on October 29th, a man tried to stab the police in Avignon, and he was shot.
Separately, a man was arrested in Jeddah after stabbing a French consulate guard.
These are not isolated incidents and are a result of France’s anatomization of Turkey, as well as the recent statements by French officials regarding the freedom of speech and caricatures mocking Islam. For years, France and other European states have provided protection and flirted with Islamist groups around the world for own political purposes (for example Paris supported ‘moderate rebels iin Syria). Now, they face consenquences of this approach. Radicals exploit networks that they have created to conduct attacks inside France and pressure its government through the violence.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- France Hopes Russia Will Take Back Radical Islamist “Moderate Rebels” It Previous “Rescued”
- Bombardier And Others Prohibit Sales Of Parts For Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 UAVs