Iran Summons French Envoy After Macron Defends Satirical Cartoons

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks on October 16, 2020, in front of a middle school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, 30kms northwest of Paris, after a teacher was decapitated by an attacker who has been shot dead by policemen. - French anti-terror prosecutors said on October 16 they were investigating an assault …
ABDULMONAM EASSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Iran summoned its French chargé d’affaires on Monday to protest French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments against Islamists’ use of violence in the face of satirical cartoons.

Tehran summoned France’s chargé d’affaires in Iran, Florent Aydalot, to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Aydalot met with the foreign ministry’s deputy director-general for European Affairs, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported on Tuesday.

During the session, the Iranian official denounced the French officials’ ‘unacceptable measures,’ which [he claimed] have hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims in Europe and the entire world,” according to the report.

“Any insult and disrespect to Islam’s Prophet … and pure Islamic values by any person — regardless of their position — are strongly condemned and rejected,” the Iranian official said.

French history teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was beheaded on October 16 by an 18-year-old Islamist terrorist in a Paris suburb. Paty had recently taught a class on secularism and the controversy surrounding the publication of cartoons of Muhammad by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The teenage assailant — identified as Abdullakh Anzorov, a Moscow-born Chechen migrant who had a French residence permit — was shot dead by police shortly after the killing.

Speaking from the middle school where Paty was killed on October 16, French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher was the victim of a “blatant Islamist terrorist attack.”

“One of our fellow citizens … was murdered today for teaching, for teaching students freedom of speech, freedom to believe and not to believe,” he said. “It is no coincidence that this evening it is a teacher that this terrorist killed because he wanted to bring down the Republic in its values.”

French Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer reacted to the incident on October 16.

“Tonight, it is the Republic that is under attack with the vile assassination of one of its servants, a professor,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I think tonight of him, of his family. Our unity and firmness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism. We will stand up,” Blanquer added.

The French government officials’ comments have enraged Muslims across the world, leading a handful of Islamic nations to call for a boycott of French goods. In the face of the backlash, the French president has doubled down, further defending France’s republican values of secularism and democracy.

Macron posthumously awarded Paty the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian honor, at a ceremony at the Sorbonne university on October 21

“Paty was slain by ‘cowards’ for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic,” Macron said at the ceremony, according to France 24.

“He was killed because Islamists want our future,” the French president said, adding, “they will never have it.”

“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron affirmed.

“The French officials’ irrational reaction to the actions of extremists, who perpetrate violence in the name of Islam, only provides the ground for the growth of tendencies that are deviant and inconsistent with this divine religion, which always heralds toleration, rationalism, peace, and justice,” Iran’s foreign ministry official told Tehran’s French chargé d’affaires on Monday.

“The French diplomat, for his part, promised to convey Iran’s protest to the relevant authorities in Paris as soon as possible,” Iran’s Press TV reported.

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