Anti-France protests continue over Macron’s insult of Islam’s Prophet
Anti-France protests continue across the Muslim world over French President Emmanuel Macron’s public attack on Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Hundreds of protesters in Pakistan on Sunday burned effigies of France's leader and chanted anti-French slogans. Demonstrations were also held in Lebanon, Turkey and India.
The renewed protests came after Macron's interview late Saturday in which he claimed to “understand” the backlash, but nonetheless insisted on his support for such blasphemy.
Macron was speaking with the Qatar-based Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera, where he also defended France's so-called freedoms of expression.
“I have never said that,” Macron told the Al-Jazeera interviewer, explaining that some false translations of his words in the media showed him to support the cartoons mocking Prophet Muhammad. “Those are lies.”
“But you must understand my role right now, it’s to do two things: to promote calm and also to protect these rights,” Macron added.
“I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw.”
The interview set off a storm on social media, as many argued the Qatari station erred by giving space to the French President, whom they said failed to apologize for offending Muslims.
The protests in Muslim-majority nations over the last week, and calls for boycotts of French products, began initially after Macron eulogized a French teacher in Paris who was decapitated for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class. Two attacks followed on a group of worshippers in a church in Nice, and a Greek priest in Lyon.
While Muslims in France have denounced the killing of the teacher, they have also expressed fears of collective punishment amid a government crackdown against Islamic organizations.