Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on NATO allies Wednesday to back shared values of tolerance and free speech, in a direct rebuke to Turkey which demands a boycott of French goods because Muslim feelings were hurt by cartoons.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has urged Turks and the wider Muslim world to reject French trade while accusing it of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda. Britain, France and Turkey are all NATO members.
Erdogan is one of several leaders in the Muslim world angry with France over its response to the brutal beheading of teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamic terrorist.
French Police Swoop on 80+ Extremists Who Expressed Support for Paris Beheader https://t.co/V8Ch9AixIH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2020
The assailant was shot dead by police shortly after the killing and was later identified as Abdullakh Anzorov, a Moscow-born Chechen migrant.
“The UK stands in solidarity with France and the French people in the wake of the appalling murder of Samuel Paty,” Raab said in a statement as seen by Reuters. “Terrorism can never and should never be justified.”
Raab urged NATO allies and the wider international community to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the fundamental values of tolerance and free speech,” saying nobody should give terrorists “the gift of dividing us.”
The French government, backed by its citizens, saw the beheading as an attack on free speech and said they would defend the right to display the cartoons while challenging Islam’s assumed “right” to never be criticised or challenged.
Muslim World Rises Against French Crackdown on Radical Islam https://t.co/zXmLEgewKC
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 26, 2020
Macron called the teacher a hero, and he pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France.
The reaction to Paty’s murder has caused widespread anger in Muslim countries, where there have been anti-French demonstrations and calls for boycott as well as direct threats against President Emmanuel Macron, as Breitbart News reported.
France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday issued safety advice to French citizens in Indonesia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania, advising them to exercise caution. They should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.