Even as the bodies of two dead cartoonists from satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were committed to the ground after a terrorist attack last week which killed twelve, French President Francois Hollande has insisted Muslims remain the “main victims”.
Speaking at the Arab Institute in Paris, the president reminded listeners that Muslims have “the same rights and the same duties as all citizens” and deserved “protection”.
Visiting the conference, which was focussing on the ‘Renewal of the Arab World’, president Hollande said: “It is the Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism, and intolerance. We should also remind people, and I do it every time wherever I find myself in the Arab world, that Islam is compatible with democracy”.
Despite his comments, which follow the murder of four Jewish shoppers in a Kosher delicatessen in Paris last week in an attack linked to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, France has now deployed thousands of police and troops to defend Jewish property.
Synagogues, shops, and schools across France and other European countries have experienced reduced opening times over the past week, as fears of copycat attacks permeate.