French leader’s anti-Islam comments prompt backlash from Muslims
French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on the denunciation of Islam and in defense of secularism have drawn widespread backlash from Muslim activists and advocates of the noble religion.
In a televised address on Friday, Macron unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against what he labeled as “Islamist radicalism” and claimed that the religion was “in crisis” all over the world.
Macron underlined that “no concessions” would be made in a new drive to eliminate religion from education and the public sector in the country.
The French president also said his government would present a bill in December that would strengthen the country’s 1905 law that officially separated religion and state.
Following the speech, activists took to Twitter to condemn the remarks.
Yasser Louati, a French Muslim activist, said in a tweet that “the repression of Muslims has been a threat, now it is a promise."
Macron’s comments came less than a month after Muslim protesters censured Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly satirical magazine, for its recent reprinting of blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
More than a dozen staff at Charlie Hebdo were killed in January 2015 by armed gunmen. The murder was blamed on Muslims for what was claimed to be a revenge for sacrilegious cartoons that condemned Islam.
This is while members of the Muslim community in France and elsewhere in the world have consistently denounced such brutal acts, describing them as going against the precepts of their religion.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have been on the rise across Europe in recent years in the wake of terrorist attacks in the continent. The attacks were carried out by the Daesh sympathizers or the terror group’s members who had returned home following their defeat in Iraq and Syria.
Muslim leaders in Europe and around the world have reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks.
Moreover, the rise of far-right ideology and the propagation of anti-immigration policies have exacerbated the status of religious minorities in Europe.