Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan added his voice Sunday to the growing Muslim chorus condemning France’s President Emmanuel Macron for criticizing Islam and “hurting the feelings” of its “peaceful followers.”
“Hallmark of a leader is he unites human beings, as Mandela did, rather than dividing them. This is a time when President Macron could have put healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalization,” he said, as reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Khan claimed it is unfortunate Macron “encouraged Islamophobia” by attacking Islam for the actions of a few from the religion of peace and co-prosperity.
“Sadly, President Macron has chosen to deliberately provoke Muslims, including his own citizens through encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam and our Prophet PBUH,” said PM Imran.
Pics: Defying Islamists, Giant Image of Mohammed Projected onto French Government Building After Beheading https://t.co/kHOM24XKPA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 21, 2020
The cause of the furore, as Breitbart London reported, stems from Macron speaking out forcefully on Islam and its followers in France after local teacher Samuel Paty was publicly beheaded for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class.
France “will not give up our cartoons”, he said earlier this week, as the entire country rallied around the idea of free speech.
Macron added the teacher “was killed because Islamists want our future” and vowed to stand up and fight for French liberty in the face of religious extremism.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already attacked his French counterpart and questioned his mental health as more anti-Macron voices are being heard rallying across the Muslim world.
Blasphemy is an explosive issue in ultra-conservative Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty and expect no mercy.
Turkey’s Erdogan Claims France’s Macron Needs ’Mental' Check over Attitude to Radical Islam https://t.co/BhgC65lC8l
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 25, 2020
This fact has seen Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry also weigh into the matter, issuing a statement of its own saying it was “alarmed at highly disturbing statements by certain politicians” who sought to justify “equating Islam with terrorism, for narrow electoral and political gains.”
It said under international human rights law, the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities towards the Islamic faith.
“The dissemination of racist ideas, defamation and ridiculing of other religions, denigration of religious personalities, hate speech, and incitement to violence are not allowed expressions of this fundamental freedom,” it said.