“Nothing will make us back down”: Macron stays the course in the face of anger from part of the Muslim world
The President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, has been under fire for a few days from criticism from part of the Muslim world, after his comments on the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. During a tribute paid to the murdered history and geography professor Samuel Paty, Wednesday at the Sorbonne, He had thus promised “Do not give up” to the latter. An outrage for certain political and religious leaders, elected officials but also ordinary citizens, the representations of the Prophet being prohibited by part of the Muslim tradition.
France asked, Sunday, October 25 evening, the governments of the countries concerned by this wave of protest to “stop” calls to boycott French products and demonstrations, coming, according to Paris, from a “Radical minority”. The French authorities also want them to commit to ” Ensure the security “ French people living on their soil.
“Freedom, we cherish it”, writes Macron on Twitter
Sunday evening, Emmanuel Macron spoke on Twitter in three languages, a rare occurrence. “Our history is that of the struggle against tyrannies and fanaticisms. We will continue “, wrote the President of the Republic, also the target of direct attacks by his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Freedom, we cherish it; equality, we guarantee it; fraternity, we live it with intensity. Nothing will make us back down, ever ”, tweeted the Head of State, before adding this message – also translated in Arabic and in English :
” We will continue. We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We never accept hate speech and stand for reasonable debate. “
In Algeria, the head of the Islamist party Justice and Development Party thus called for a boycott of French products and requested the summons of the French ambassador. At Morocco, the opposition party Istiqlal (center right) denounced “The repeated persistence in publishing the cartoons insulting the Prophet” as well as “Stigmatizing statements of Islam which affect the common religious sentiment of Muslims around the world, primarily those of France”. In Tunisia, some Internet users criticized the means used to defend the Prophet, made fun of boycott attempts, and defended freedom of expression.
In Libya, Internet users called for demonstrations on Sunday in the great Martyrs Square, in downtown Tripoli. But less than 70 people responded. Portraits of Mr. Macron and French flags were trampled and set on fire. Similar scenes had been observed the day before in the band Gaza, and some 200 people gathered in front of the residence of the French Ambassador in Israel.
A symbolic call for a boycott also took place at Bab Al-Hawa, a border crossing point in the northwest of the Syria, in the hands of the rebels. Demonstrations were also organized in various regions beyond the control of Damascus, detailed to Agence France-Presse Rami Abdel Rahmane, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, specifying that portraits of Mr. Macron had been burned.
In Jordan, the Minister of Islamic Affairs estimated that” to offend “ the prophets did “Not of personal freedom but of a crime which encourages violence”. At Lebanon, the demonstration planned in front of the French embassy on Sunday did not – like the day before – attract anyone, apart from dozens of soldiers and riot control forces.
At Kuwait, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, ” meet “ the Ambassador of France Anne-Claire Legendre. “They spoke of the heinous crime suffered by a French teacher”, according to a Kuwaiti press release, specifying that the minister had underlined “The importance of putting an end to attacks on monotheistic religions and on prophets in certain official speeches (…) likely to exacerbate hatred “.
In Iraq, Rabaa Allah, the latest of the pro-Iran armed factions, said he was ready “To replicate”, without further details, after what she called“Insult to a billion and a half people”.
At Pakistan, finally, Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Mr. Macron of“Attacking Islam”. he “Could have played appeasement (…) rather than creating additional polarization and marginalization which inevitably leads to radicalization ”, he tweeted.
The context is accompanied by a new tension in relations between Paris and Ankara. The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had already denounced as a provocation two weeks ago the statements of Mr. Macron on the “Islamist separatism” and the need to “Structuring Islam” in France, while the French executive presented its future bill on this subject. Since this weekend, he has also criticized him for his position on the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
In a televised speech on Saturday, Erdogan publicly questioned the ” Mental Health “ of the French head of state. Words strongly condemned by Paris, who let it be known that the French ambassador to Turkey was recalled ” for consultation “, according to the accepted expression.