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Macron’s Attack on Islam Reveals “Intolerance and Hatred,” Says Nobel Peace Laureate

By:Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator

The beheading of a teacher in France elicited inflammatory remarks from President Emmanuel Macron, which in turn has been met with an Arab boycott of French goods and outrage by the Muslim world.

Macron is accusing Muslims of separatism and is introducing a new bill to crack-down on this sin against French values.

Arab boycott of French products

Hashtags in English and French, such as #boycottfrenchproducts, as well as in Arabic are trending on Twitter and other social media following a call to boycott French products across the Muslim world, in response to an “anti-Islam” attitude displayed following the murder of a French teacher.

In Qatar, major supermarket chains started removing French products from their shelves, while the Al Meera company said in a press release October 23, “We affirm, as a national company, that we operate with a vision that is consistent with our religion, established customs and traditions, and in a way that serves our country and our faith and meets the aspirations of our customers.”

Kuwait, Oman, and Morocco are also participating in the boycott of French products.  The oil-rich Arab Gulf countries are an important market for French agriculture, food, beauty, and luxury items.

Qatar University decided to postpone the French Cultural Week in protest of the anti-Islam insults, as their way of participation in the boycott. “Any denigration or violation of the Islamic beliefs, sanctities, and symbols are absolutely rejected,” the university said in a statement. “These insults harm the universal human values and the high ethical principles of all societies,” it added on Twitter.

Mohammad al-Motairi, the head of the Federation of Kuwaiti Travel Agencies, announced 430 travelagencies in Kuwait have also suspended bookings for flights to France.

Charlie Hebdo attacks 2015

In 2006, a Danish newspaper published demeaning caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammed. This caused a violent reaction across the Muslim world. There is a tradition that holds any image of the prophet as unacceptable, and demeaning to Islam, which is one of the three Abrahamic religions, along with Judaism and Christianity.

Charlie Hebdo, a left-wing French magazine, re-published the anti-Islamic caricatures, which have drawn widespread anger and outrage, and in January 2015, 12 people were killed in and around the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, by terrorists Saïd and Chérif Kouachi.  The next day, gunman Amédy Coulibaly killed a policewoman and killed four persons at the Hyper Cacher supermarket. The Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly were killed in separate shootouts with police, and the trial of 14 people suspected of being linked to the January 2015 terror attacks is currently being held in a Paris court and is due to continue until November.

Paris has been on high alert since two journalists from a film production company were stabbed outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo about three weeks ago.

Teacher beheaded

Samuel Paty was beheaded on October 16 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the Yvelines, a suburb north-west of central Paris. The 47-year-old history-geography professor was killed by an 18-year-old Chechen who had contact with a jihadist in Syria.

France participated in the US-NATO regime change project in Syria and was well aware of the French terrorists in Syria, who were following Radical Islam.


Hundreds of French citizens traveled by way of Turkey and entered Syria illegally to rape, maim and murder unarmed Syrian citizens, the majority of which were Muslims.

During a course in “moral and civil education” professor Paty showed pupils, aged 12 to 14, the caricatures that had appeared in Charlie Hebdo in 2012. The lesson was to demonstrate the right of “freedom of speech”; however, the caricature was of a male adult, naked, kneeling, and with his genitals fully exposed.  His lesson to the youngsters was met with complaints from several parents, and a formal legal complaint was lodged against Samuel Paty for “dissemination of pornographic images” to children.

The police chased the killer, but he was shot dead after refusing to surrender and threatening the police. The killer had been unknown to the French intelligence community. Four people, including a minor, are reported to have been arrested since the murder.

Macron’s inflammatory statements

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the murder site and said the victim had been “assassinated” and that his killer sought to “attack the republic and its values”. “This is our battle and it is existential. They [terrorists] will not succeed … They will not divide us.”

Macron’s comments were widely condemned over their timing and divisive message. “One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught. He taught his students about freedom of expression, freedom to believe, or not believe. It was a cowardly attack. He was the victim of a terrorist Islamist attack,” Macron said.

On October 21, Macron announced in a press statement that France will not ban the caricatures insulting the Prophet Muhammad and Islam.

“Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country,” the French president said in a speech introducing a new bill to strengthen France’s state ideology of militant secularism, known as Laicite.

In Morocco, Rabat municipality Consultant Hisham El-Harch said, “The cartoons published by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo targeting the Messenger of Allah are displayed on the walls of some hotels in Toulouse and Montpellier in France after the French president announced that he would not ban these abusive publications.” French activists volunteered to hang the offensive caricatures on walls in public spaces, such as hotels, in tribute to the slain French teacher.

France is struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, while in recent days, raids are targeting Islamic civil society organizations in France.

The new French law drafted

Macron said the government would present a bill on December 9 to the Council of Ministers, which seeks to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France, and cracks down on separatism, in a pointed reference to Macron’s accusations against Muslims.

He also announced stricter oversight of schooling and better control over foreign funding of mosques.

Critics of the bill, particularly those among France’s six million Muslim community, fear the deepening anti-Muslim sentiment in France will be further inflamed.

The French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, announced arrests, closures of places of worship, and bans of associations including the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) and the humanitarian association Baraka City.

Macron is facing a tough bid for re-election in 2022, against stiff opposition from the far-right National Rally party, who have complained that the bill does not go far enough. Political experts have asked if the new bill is politically motivated, and tries to portray Macron in a tough anti-Islam light, to win voters closer to his opposition.

Muslim reactions

Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Morocco, and Kuwait denounced the publication of the Prophet’s caricatures. The Organization for Islamic Cooperation, referring to Macron, said “the words of certain French officials (…) likely to harm Franco-Muslim relations”.

Nobel Peace Laureate, Tawakkol Karman said on Twitter,

“Macron’s attack on Islam reveals intolerance and hatred which is shameful for the head of a state like France.” She added that it is not up to Macron to reform Islam, and “Muslims alone are concerned with that, and they will do that.”

Karman urged Macron to speak about Islam with respect and acceptance, instead of accusations against his citizens who follow the faith. “Macron has delivered his irresponsible inflammatory speech against Muslims and their religion to satisfy a group of fanatics so that they will vote for him,” she added.

Erdogan suggests Macron may be mentally ill

“What can we say of a head of state who behaves like this to millions of members of a different faith in his country,” said Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He added, “First of all, [Macron needs] mental checks.”

Hours after Erdogan’s remarks, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey after the Elysee denounced the “unacceptable” remarks.

Erdogan warned of Europe’s self-destructive Islamophobia, adding that European fascism had entered a new phase with attacks on the rights of Muslims, referring to a recent police raid on a mosque in Berlin.

“Europe is preparing its own end with its front against Muslims,” Erdogan said while addressing a meeting of his governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Kayseri.

*

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This article was originally published on Mideast Discourse.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist نه

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penrose
penrose
October 31, 2020

RE: Macron is accusing Muslims of separatism.

Separatism is a good thing. It just doesn’t go far enough. Muslims don’t belong in France and the French should not be meddling in Islamic countries.

These two disparate cultures and religious backgrounds should be as separated as possible.

Smoking Eagle
Smoking Eagle
Reply to  penrose
October 31, 2020

How about the European colonisation of Islamic countries in Africa and the Middle East? How about the French and other Europeans not belonging in Islamic countries? They have hardly felt the need to stay home and live separately from Muslims, have they?

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/muslims/etc/armstrong.html#:~:text=The%20European%20powers%20colonized%20one,Libya%20and%20Morocco%20in%201912.

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  Smoking Eagle
October 31, 2020

Right on brother,your words ring true..

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  penrose
October 31, 2020

Perhaps Europeans and the US empire don’t belong on Islamic soil..

bob
bob
Reply to  Ozy
November 1, 2020

I totally agree, they don’t belong on Islamic soil. Perhaps Islamic intolerance does not belong on Western soil. Our ancestors fought many battles over the right to criticize religion. If your religion cannot handle criticism and cartoons perhaps you should find a religion that is not as insecure.

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  bob
November 1, 2020

How tolerant are we in the West concerning religion,i mean defaming Jesus wouldn’t go down to well in Texas would it??,and said accused person or organisation would probably need a bullet proof vest and check under their car every morning..

defe
defe
Reply to  Ozy
November 1, 2020

How was the prophet Mohamed defamed? Just because there was a cartoon? You need to lighten up and live in the 21 century not the 7th. All this nonsense about defaming comes from clerics that want total control and idiots believe what they are told.
I think you would not have your head lopped off if you did show a cartoon of Jesus nor would someone scream at you kill the unbeliever while holding a knife in their hand.

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  defe
November 1, 2020

I think Zionist forces have manipulated your brain,would you not want more favourable relations between the west and the Muslim world??,or do you prefer the artificial animus created by neoCons and humanitarian liberal interventionists who want us to be constantly at war with these people,its been 20yrs of this [email protected]£& ffs!!, aren’t you tired of it??,this narrative has sucked the US economy dry,left 100’s of thousands of people dead,including in Europe..p.s., Christian extremists don’t use knives they use guns,my Texas statement still stands true..

defe
defe
Reply to  Ozy
November 1, 2020

I have no love for Zionism either. They stole land that did not belong to them all because God “gave it to his chosen people” supported by American lunatics who think if they pack enough Jews in Israel Jesus will beam down to earth. So you see there are plenty of nutters to go around, but they do not go around beheading people. Texas is not the entire world and you Americans need to get used to the fact that the sun does not rotate around the US. What is so insulting about a cartoon? There are plenty of Jesus.… Read more »

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  defe
November 2, 2020

A Muslim country that tolerates other religions,hmmm let me see,there was Iraq,that was destroyed by the empire,also there was Libya and Syria,they too fell foul of the empire,oh there are Christians in Iran and quite a Jews and Zoroastrians..p.s. Not American I reside in Magna Britannia,and you seem a reasonable nice chap,have a good one..

defe
defe
Reply to  Ozy
November 4, 2020

Iraq, Libya and Syria were secular countries before the US decided to democratize them and not Islamic. In other words religion and faith were separate.
I’m surprised you live in the UK because people that post such inaccurate stuff tend to be Americans.

MikeP
MikeP
Reply to  Ozy
November 6, 2020

Please show links to articles about asassinations by radical Christians “defending” their faith, Jesus or god within the last hundred years or so, anywhere in the US or around the world. I’ll wait.

Smoking Eagle
Smoking Eagle
October 31, 2020

The US and Israel constantly engage in anti-Islam and anti-Arab actions and behaviours at home, in the Middle East and in North Africa, and regularly make negative anti-Islam and anti-Arab comments, so why is it a problem when France does likewise?

Ozy
Ozy
October 31, 2020

We cannot excuse the the obscene murder of that French teacher and other unfortunate victims of those vile violent men,but ,and there always is a but,the Muslim/Arab world has suffered the most extraordinary violence and humiliation over the many decades,and at the beginning of this century a extremist warmonger Talmud driven movement has taken this neo colonial attitudes and kinetic violence to a new level,how many Arabs have been obliterated or decapitated by missiles and other ordinance,the clash of civilizations narrative is a tool used to whip up hatred of Muslims to justify these horrific actions,the people of the Occident… Read more »

Leon
Leon
November 1, 2020

On this issue Macron is Right
Goat heard an alphabet barbarism from the Middle Ages has no place in the 21st century!! And has nothing to do with religious practice these retards have no respect even with those that practice the same religion they blow up mosques and behead their own this is not a religious fight but psychopaths out of control highjacking religion and creating Chaos !! These people need a taste of their own medicine and be forced out of Europe !! Let their own punish them under their own barbaric laws !!

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  Leon
November 1, 2020

I guess you believe in the Zionist Psyop,and the neoCons war on terror Cr*p we’ve been fed for nearly 20yrs..

bob
bob
November 1, 2020

Perhaps Islamic intolerance does not belong on Western soil. Our ancestors fought many battles over the right to criticize religion. If your religion cannot handle criticism and cartoons perhaps you should find a religion that is not as insecure.

Ozy
Ozy
Reply to  bob
November 1, 2020

How well would insulting cartoons of Jesus go down in say the Bible belt before the death threats came thick and fast possibly leading to some headbanger letting rip with a AR-15 assault rifle at those who printed it,respect for religious beliefs should be universal..

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