PM Imran lashes out at French President Macron for anti-Muslim attitude

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday lashed out at the French President Emmanuel Macron over his anti-Muslim attitude, criticizing him for hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the globe.

In a series of tweets today, 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 marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization”.

“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”, he said.

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 added.

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.

The French president is being criticized 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 kilometers northwest of Paris.

PM Imran Khan is the second 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”. 

Erdogan said in a speech in the central Turkish city of Kayseri, “What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level.”

“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 said.

Following the statement of Erdogan, France recalled its ambassador. “Outrage and insult are not a method,” Macron’s office said.

Turkey and France are both members of the NATO military alliance but have been at odds over issues including Syria and Libya, maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean, and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.