Sunday Oct 25, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his anti-Muslim attitude on Sunday, criticising him for hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world.
The French president is being criticised with protests breaking out in several cities across the world after Macron accused Muslims of separatism and vowed not to give up cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
His comments came in response to the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, who was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris.
The teacher had shown cartoons disrespecting Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), according to media reports.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, the prime minister, while presenting examples of the iconic leader Nelson Mandela, said that this is a time when President Macron could have put the healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than "creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation".
"It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists. Sadly, President Macron has chosen to deliberately provoke Muslims, incl his own citizens, through encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam and our Prophet (PBUH), the premier wrote on Twitter.
Condemning that by attacking Islam, Macron has hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world, PM Imran said that the last thing the world wants or needs is further "polarisation".
"Public statements based on ignorance will create more hate, Islamophobia and space for extremists," he added.
France has recently stepped up measures in the country which its Muslim community views as anti-Islam. The French government has said it fears militancy is taking over some Muslim communities in the country.
The French government is considering proposals to restrict funds that Muslim communities in the country receive from abroad. The government also wants to create a certificate program for French-trained imams, as well as other things.
The French Interior Ministry announced that its officials will target for possible dissolution 50 French Muslim associations if they are found guilty of promoting hatred. The list of names include that of a mainstream group that aims to battle Islamophobia.
His statement of wanting to build “an Islam in France that can be an Islam of the Enlightenment,” has caused anger and restlessness in Muslims across the world.
PM Imran Khan is the second prominent Muslim leader to slam Macron for his anti-Muslim statements and policies. Turkish President Erdogan earlier lashed out at the French president, suggesting that he required "mental treatment".
The statement was not well received by France as the country recalled its ambassador. “Outrage and insult are not a method,” Macron’s office had said.
“What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level,” Erdogan said in a speech in the central Turkish city of Kayseri.
“What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?” Erdogan added.