I Can Understand Muslims’ Shock Over Prophet Cartoons, Says Macron
Macron claimed that the cartoons were not the work of the French state.
French President Emmanuel Macron told Al Jazeera that he understands the Muslim community’s anger against the display of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, but added that “radical Islam” he is trying to fight is a threat to all people, especially Muslims.
“I understand the sentiments being expressed and I respect them. But you must understand my role right now, it’s to do two things: to promote calm and also to protect these rights. I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw,” Macron said.
The interview comes days after three people were killed in a knife attack on Thursday, 29 October, at a church in Nice. Macron had called the attack an "Islamist terrorist attack".
Less than a month before this attack, Samuel Paty, a teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, was beheaded days after showing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.
Cartoon Not a Creation of the French State
Macron claimed that the cartoons were not the work of the French state. He said political leaders had distorted the truth, leading people to believe the French government was responsible for the caricatures. "The caricatures are not a governmental project, but emerged from free and independent newspapers that are not affiliated with the government," he added.
"Today in the world there are people who distort Islam and in the name of this religion that they claim to defend, they kill, they slaughter… today there is violence practised by some extremist movements and individuals in the name of Islam," Macron added.
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