World How cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed placed France in the firing line of radical Islam

09:55  31 october  2020
09:55  31 october  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

France’s Macron leads tributes to beheaded teacher

  France’s Macron leads tributes to beheaded teacher Samuel Paty was attacked after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class. His killer, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot dead by police. Speaking at a televised memorial service on Wednesday, Mr Macron told viewers that France "will not give up our cartoons". The service was attended by the teacher's family and some 400 guests. The coffin was brought into the ceremony on the shoulders of a guard of honour and to the sound of the song "One" by the rock group U2. On top of the casket was Mr Paty's Legion d'Honneur, France's highest honour. It was posthumously awarded to Mr Paty.

Muslim rallies against France and Macron have been taking place in many countries after the French leader insisted that the publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohammed , which is considered blasphemy in Islam , was in line with the country’s values in the area of freedom of speech.

He also questioned why it was “OK” in France to insult the Prophet Mohammed , but illegal to doubt the Holocaust. Party, in a freedom of expression class, had shown his students cartoons of Islam ’s Prophet Mohammed , which had just been published by satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In the wake of two terrorist attacks, anti-French protests have erupted across the Muslim world in an escalating backlash against the European nation's strict form of secularism that upholds blasphemy and satire as freedom of speech.

Two weeks ago, in a brutal attack that shocked the nation, a Muslim teen beheaded a school teacher in the streets of Paris after he used caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in a class lesson on freedom of speech.

This week, a church knife attack that left three dead, prompted President Emmanuel Macron to declare that "France is under attack".

But the French president's response to terrorism has fuelled diplomatic tensions with leaders of Islamic nations.

IN IMAGES. Caricatures of Mohammed: demonstrations in Israel, photos of Macron burned in the Gaza Strip

 IN IMAGES. Caricatures of Mohammed: demonstrations in Israel, photos of Macron burned in the Gaza Strip © JACK GUEZ / AFP Demonstrators in front of the residence of the French Ambassador in Tel Aviv, October 24, 2020. Around 200 people demonstrated on Saturday night in front of the residence of the French ambassador to Israel to denounce Emmanuel Macron's comments on the prophet Muhammad cartoons while demonstrators burned photos of the French president in the Gaza Strip. © JACK GUEZ / AFP Some demonstrators had their faces covered by a sanitary mask.

Cartoons from the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo were projected on the facades of buildings across France to mark a national day of Paty was murdered by a Muslim extremist after showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to his students during a lesson

French teacher beheaded by suspected Islamist terrorist for showing Prophet Mohammed has Muslim parents took offence at Mr Paty's decision to show his class cartoons of the Prophet Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. One Muslim pupil stayed behind France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months – in the

Mr Macron's government has defended the right to publish derogatory religious caricatures, sparking angry protests and calls to boycott French products across the globe.

France is now at it's highest state of alert, and the President has deployed thousands of additional soldiers to guard schools and religious sites around the country.

But with a torrid colonial past and 6 million Muslims living in France, cartoons and diplomatic spats are just part of the story.

What has happened so far?

Despite being threatened, firebombed and targeted by several terrorist attacks, satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo has famously continued to publish and republish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

For Muslims, any image of Mohammed is considered blasphemous — but the newspaper has pictured him naked and in demeaning or pornographic poses.

‘Boycott French products’ launched over Macron’s Islam comments

  ‘Boycott French products’ launched over Macron’s Islam comments Several Arab food companies withdraw French products from supermarkets in response to Macron’s statements on Islam.Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

The decision by the French satirical magazine to recirculate cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad and Islam coincides with the start of a long-awaited trial for the attack that killed 11 of its A memorial in January marked the fifth anniversary of the deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

Cartoons of Mohammed , the Islamic prophet , have been used as justification by Islamist terrorists in several attacks, some deadly. The Offices of Charlie Hebdo were raided by Islamist gunmen in 2015, with many of the paper’s editorial staff killed. The court cases surrounding the killing finally being

Less than two weeks after featuring at least one of these images in a class lesson, French teacher Samuel Paty was murdered by an 18-year-old Muslim who prosecutors said had given two students almost $600 to identify the teacher.

At least nine other people have been detained while the killer was shot dead by police.

Charlie Hebdo's decision to publish new cartoons this week ridiculing its opponents in the Islamic world formed the backdrop for yet another attack in France on Thursday, which saw three people fatally attacked in a church.

Witnesses said the knife-wielding attacker had shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he stormed the church in the city of Nice.

These recent killings are the latest in a string of attacks by Muslim extremists that followed the 2015 massacre targeting the Charlie Hebdo newsroom.

That same year, Paris was left shattered by the worst terror act in the city's long history, when coordinated attacks killed more than 130 people in a concert hall, a sports stadium and several bars and restaurants.

France urges Arab nations to prevent boycotts

  France urges Arab nations to prevent boycotts President Macron's comments about "Islamist separatism" have angered some in the Muslim world. Turkey's Mr Erdogan asked in a speech: "What's the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?"Meanwhile PPakistani leader Imran Khan accused the French leader of "attacking Islam, clearly without having any understanding of it"."President Macron has attacked and hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe & across the world," he tweeted.

Thousands have attended rallies across France in honour of Samuel Paty, the teacher beheaded after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils. The murder comes as a trial over the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo - a satirical magazine that has published cartoons of the Prophet

A Danish daily credited with starting a debate over criticism of Islam has said it will not print cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a political The paper’s staff have also been targeted in the past. Contributing cartoonist Kurt Westergaard survived a 2010 assault when an armed man broke

How did France respond to the attacks?

Many public figures in France said the murder of Mr Paty was an attack on the essence of French statehood and its values of secularism, freedom of worship and freedom of expression, including the French President, who defended Charlie Hebdo's freedom to print caricatures.

During a memorial for the school teacher, Mr Macron said it was "hate of what we profoundly are" that led to the death of Mr Paty.

He said "Islamist separatism" and "the creation of a counter-society" was a danger to France because it held its own laws above all others.

The President suggested children were sometimes kept out of school, group sports and community activities as a "pretext to teach principles that do not conform to the laws of the republic".

He outlined a legislative proposal that, if passed in Parliament, would essentially ban home-schooling of all children aged three and up and prevent foreign-trained imams from leading French mosques.

The goal, the president said, is "to build an Islam in France that can be compatible with the Enlightenment".

Muslim world condemns Macron, France over treatment of Islam

  Muslim world condemns Macron, France over treatment of Islam Leaders and groups across Muslim world join debate as protests erupt, while Europe stands by Macron and condemns Turkey.Marking his second sharp criticism against Macron in two days, Erdogan said on Sunday that the French president had “lost his mind”, prompting France’s foreign minister to recall the country’s ambassador in Ankara.

By drawing the prophet . is this only about mohammed or all the other islamic prophets too like jesus for example? If Islam has specific laws which state that Muslims should be first class citizens, other believers of the book (Jews, Christians) second class and the rest (Hindus, Buddhists) without any

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are widely regarded as taboo in Islam , and are offensive to How widespread is the boycott on French products? Some supermarket shelves had been stripped of Cartoons caricaturing the prophet of Islam have a dark and intensely political legacy in France .

How has the world reacted?

Mr Macron's response sparked protests across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan and Bangladesh to Somalia and Mali.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on Sunday that Mr Macron chose "to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists", and accused him of "deliberately [provoking] Muslims, including his own citizens".

On Friday, some 2,000 people tried to march toward the French Embassy in Islamabad but were pushed back by police firing tear gas and beating protesters with batons.

Naeem-ur-Rehaman, a leader of Pakistan's Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, who led a protest in Karachi, demanded that insulting any prophet should be declared terrorism.

Protesters chanted slogans including: "Beheading is the only punishment for blasphemers".

Elsewhere, chants of "Death to France" could be heard as French flags and effigies of Mr Macro were burned, while in Syria's Raqqa — a former stronghold of the Islamic State — protesters hailed the teenager who beheaded Samuel Paty as a hero.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday said freedom of expression should stop if it offends more than 1.5 billion people.

"We have the right for our feelings not to be hurt and for our values not to be hurt," he said.

Huge Bangladesh protest calls for French boycott

  Huge Bangladesh protest calls for French boycott Marchers burn an effigy of Emmanuel Macron in anger at his defence of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Police blocked the marchers from reaching the French embassy. Mr Macron has become a target in several Muslim-majority countries after his defence of French secularism.He spoke out after a teacher was beheaded earlier this month for showing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Paying tribute to the teacher, Mr Macron said France "will not give up our cartoons".On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called for a boycott of French goods.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was highly critical of Mr Macron's response to the attack and called for a boycott on French goods.

"What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level," Mr Erdogan said last week.

"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?"

Charlie Hebdo further stirred the pot with this week's front page cartoon depicting President Erdogan sitting in his underwear, lifting the hijab of a Muslim woman, revealing her backside.

Turkish officials described it as a "disgusting effort" and have summoned France's diplomatic representative to the country.

Mr Erdogan, who has a record of silencing those who criticise him or the Prophet, said the West was seeking to "relaunch the Crusades".

Turkish state media said Turkish prosecutors had launched an investigation into Charlie Hebdo's executives.

Meanwhile, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey and recently called on its European Union partners to sanction Turkey.

French authorities warned citizens abroad to take extra precautions if they are in Muslim-majority countries.

Why are Charlie Hebdo's cartoons so controversial?

Charlie Hebdo say they are calling out intolerance, oppression and a political form of Islam that threatens democracy.

But with freedom of expression as its credo, the publication routinely pushes the limits of French hate speech laws with caricatures that take on or offend nearly everyone.

A terror attack in Nice threatens to turbocharge France’s debate on free speech and Islam

  A terror attack in Nice threatens to turbocharge France’s debate on free speech and Islam Three people were killed at the Notre Dame Basilica.Around 9 am local time Thursday in Nice, an assailant used a knife to kill three people, two women and a man, at the Notre-Dame Basilica. One of the women, who was reportedly 70, died inside the church, as did the man; the second woman “fled to a nearby bar but was mortally wounded,” according to the AP.

While many Muslims worldwide condemned the violent attacks in France, they also felt "insulted" and "stigmatised" by the images.

"We find it very insulting and upsetting," said Adel Salman, Vice President of the Islamic Council of Victoria, adding that the Muslim community was also "horrified and saddened" by the killings.

"But Muslims are also upset when any of the Prophets and Messengers of God — Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, etc — are demeaned because we view them as the best examples of humanity, selected by God to perform a sacred duty."

Mr Salman said the Australian Muslim community was concerned that Mr Macron's words would only further divide French society and stigmatise French Muslims.

"Free speech is a principle worth protecting, but it is not an absolute right that overrides all other rights," he told the ABC.

This week, Twitter has been alight with comments either defending free speech or condemning the caricatures.

"How shaky is your belief if you are threatened by a cartoon?" asked user SRifai.

"Freedom of speech is sacred. Threatening and slaughtering innocent people due to fear from free speech is terrorism."

Others claimed double standards apply, depending on who is the target.

What makes France a target above other European nations?

Farhad Khosrokhavar, sociologist at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, said that while other European nations practice free speech with restraint, applying a "responsible attitude", he believes France has taken this to an extreme that marginalises the Muslim population.

"It is one thing to legalise blasphemy … but it is another to exhort and praise it," he told the ABC, adding that secularism has become a kind of "civil religion" against Islam.

While the attacks must be condemned, he said "freedom should be exercised in a responsible manner".

"By antagonising, by ridiculing, by stigmatising Muslims through these cartoons of Mohammed, they don't understand how far they are alienating Muslims all over the world, not only in France."

Professor Khosrokhavar said, while not a direct motive for the recent attacks, France's colonial past creates a backdrop for the current tensions.

For 130 years, France carved out an empire in the Muslim world from Morocco to Syria and Lebanon.

But Islam was never recognized as a French religion in the way that Christianity and Judaism were.

The brutal invasion of Algeria — one of France's longest-held overseas territories — and violent crackdowns on uprisings resulted in millions of Algerian deaths and fuelled terrorist attacks that spanned decades.

Those attacks were committed by both Algerian separatists and a right wing French organisation opposed to Algerian independence.

Today, France has Western Europe's largest Muslim minority and Islam is the second largest religion in France after Christianity.

But they are disproportionately affected by certain laws, such as limits on the wearing of headscarves.

"Muslims believe that it is directed against them and it is the kind of feeling that's very difficult to fight because it adds up to this colonial background," Professor Khosrokhavar said.

Rather then trying to contain the publication of the controversial caricatures, Professor Khosrokhavar said, the French government is currently contemplating including then more widely in school curriculum.

"In a democracy minorities should be respected … it puts into question this sort of mutual respect."


Muslim groups urge Macron end ‘divisive rhetoric, reject hatred’ .
Muslim organisations say French leader’s approach is fuelling tensions and ‘encouraging racists, extremists’.In an open letter published on Saturday, the organisations from several countries including the Netherlands, Finland and Italy said the French leader has failed to provide “strong moral leadership” following the killing of a teacher and three worshippers at a church last month.

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This is interesting!