Pakistan summons French ambassador to protest alleged Islamophobia

Islamabad, Oct 26 (efe-epa).- Pakistan on Monday summoned the French ambassador in Islamabad to express concern over the “blasphemous” cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad that were defended by President Emmanuel Macron.

“The French ambassador (Marc Barety) was called in today to convey Pakistan’s deep concerns over the blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesperson Zahid Hafeez told EFE.

He said the government lodged a written protest with the French envoy.

Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a local broadcaster that the “whole world is in grief and anger over the caricatures,” and directly targeted Macron.

“The irresponsible statement by the French President has added fuel to the fire. Nobody has the right to hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims under the guise of freedom of expression,” Qureshi said.

The minister warned that the “seed of hate” would lead to an increase in violence.

On Oct. 21, Macron had proclaimed in a speech at the Sorbonne University that “France will not give up the cartoons.”

He was paying homage to a French teacher who was decapitated by an Islamist student for showing the controversial caricatures to his class.

Qureshi’s comments are in line with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had on Sunday accused Macron of attacking and hurting “the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe and across the world.”

“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,” Khan said in a series of tweets.

The prime minister also wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to ban “Islamophobic content” on the social network.

Khan warned that such posts could lead to the radicalization of Muslims.

Last week, Macron had announced a series of measures against Islamist radicals, following the beheading of the teacher by a young Chechen Islamist on Oct. 16.

The government plan consists of more closely monitoring individuals and associations who promote radical Islamist points of view, with more decisive actions by French authorities.

Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old secondary school history and geography teacher, was killed by the knife-wielding attacker because he had shown the cartoons to students during a class on freedom of expression.

The incident caused widespread outrage and solidarity across the country, along with a series of arrests and government action on extremist Islamist individuals and groups. EFE-EPA


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