Terrorism mounts France as an elderly woman was beheaded and two people stabbed to death with the shouts of “Allah Hu Akbar” – “God is Greater” by the terrorist at the Notre Dame Cathedral in the French city of Nice on October 29th.
Mayor of Nice called the attack as “terrorism.” Meanwhile, a Saudi Arabian man is arrested for attacking and injuring a guard in French Embassy at Jeddah.
World stands in solidarity with France for the horrific attack with India’s PM Narendra Modi, Pope Francis and British PM Boris Johnson condemning the terror. France, presently has raised its security threat level to emergency alert.
Hashtags like #BoycottFrance in Islamic nations and #IstandwithFrance in India are trending on social media due to recent comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron in response to a murder of a French School teacher which has heightened the issue.
On October 16th, Samuel Paty, a French middle school teacher was killed and beheaded in Paris by a radical Muslim student for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons (French satirical magazine) portraying the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, including one cartoon which depicted Muhammad naked.
The class was conducted to discuss freedom of speech and expression via caricatures. The identified culprit was an 18-years-old Muslim, Abdullakh Anzorov, Chechen refugee student who was shot dead by police a few minutes later of the crime. He shouted “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is Greatest” before beheading the teacher.
Since 2011, Charlie Hedo Magazine has been the target of three terrorist attacks till now, wherein, in 2015, Islamist shooters killed 12 cartoonists.
It should also be noted that the magazine has depicted much severe satirical cartoons of Jesus Christ, Jewish gods, Hindu deities, Buddha and idols over a period of time.
Before Samuel murder, two people of Charlie Hedo’s Magazine were stabbed at the company’s headquarters in Paris by Muslim men in September 2020.
The French national values dictate on liberty, equality, fraternity, which are also the core of their education system. Western Secularism differs from Indian Secularism. In Western countries, there is a clear separation between state and religion, whereas, in India, religion is more than a belief and is understood as a way of life. In this situation, it is not easy to clearly separate religion and state; thus, we have equal treatment and progress of every religion. Government gives financial aid to minorities for their spiritual development and protection.
Emmanuel Macron Comments:
On October 2nd, in a speech to fight radicalisation, French President Emmanuel Macron said “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country,” and talked about his plan to strengthen the laws for a secular France.
All the attacks on Charlie Hedo is called as “Islamic Terrorism” by the French Government. Macron said “Right to speech includes right to blaspheme,” and further said, “The problem is an ideology (Islamic) which claims its own laws should be superior to those of the Republic.”
Outward displays of religious affiliation are already banned in various sector of France. As a result, Hijab is prohibited in French schools, and for public servants at their place of work.
On the murder of Samuel Paty, Emmanuel visited the school and called the act as “a typical terrorist attack” and said “our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech. Samuel Paty was killed because Islamists want our future and because they know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 21, 2020
French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said “attack on the French nation as a whole.” A national tribute was paid to Paty on October 21st.
Charlie Hebdo condiment the horrifying act and its director Laurent Riss Sourisseau wrote in the latest publication “We will never lie down. We will never give up.”
The government reacted with solidarity of Charlie Hebdo.
The event and French authorities’ reaction have started polarising in two views on social media. One is boycotting France over its “Anti-Islamic” leader and other in solidarity with France to take apt actions against growing terrorism.
Turkey: The first country to call France and its leader “Islamophobic openly.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul said “What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level.”
Fahrettin Altun, head of media and communications of Turkey, in a series of tweet criticised the magazine, leader and ideas of France regarding Muslims.
Europe is an increasingly dangerous place for Muslims.
The dog whistle politics of offensive caricatures, accusations of separatism against Muslims, and mosque raids isn’t about freedom of expression.
— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) October 25, 2020
French Palace issued a statement calling Turkey’s comment unacceptable and demanded that Erdogan should change his policy, which is dangerous in all aspects. On the contrary, Mr Erdogan on Monday called out Boycott French-labelled goods in Turkey.
Germany, Italy, Netherland and the European Union came into support of France.
Italian Prime Minister in a tweet said: “Personal insults do not help the positive agenda that the EU wants to pursue with Turkey.”
Pakistan: Imran Khan took his Twitter to condemn France over its treatment to minorities. He also wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove Islamophobic content.
through encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam & our Prophet PBUH. By attacking Islam, clearly without having any understanding of it, President Macron has attacked & hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe & across the world.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 25, 2020
As different Islamic nations started calling their envoys back from France, Pakistan National Assembly also passed the resolution. However, it came into notice that Pakistan has no ambassador currently posted in Paris.
Other Islamic nations:
French goods have been removed from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan. Saudi Arabia also condemned the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Protests have been seen in Libya, Syria, Gaza, Iraq and Bangladesh.
— shahzaman rajper (@ShahzamanRajper) October 27, 2020
This has led to social media protest of #BoycottFrenchProducts and #MacronApologizeToMuslims.
The French foreign ministry acknowledged the move and called the boycotts baseless and also issued safety measures for its foreign citizens in Muslim countries.
Along with EU, Indians via Twitter are supporting France steps to fight against radical terrorism with the hashtags top trending #IStandWithFrance and #WeStandWithFrance. PM Modi yesterday took to Twitter and condemned the terrorist attacks in France.
I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France, including today's heinous attack in Nice inside a church. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of France. India stands with France in the fight against terrorism.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2020
It is criticised that India presently being under a rule of Right-Wing government of Bharat Janata party have increment Anti-Muslim sentiments which enables to back France.
However, the above criticism may have substance; it is to be seen that India have time and again condemned every terrorist activity of the world without attacking the religions due to its secular nature.
— Emmanuel Lenain (@FranceinIndia) October 28, 2020
On October 28th, the Indian Foreign Ministry released a press statement which not only condemned the terrorist attack but also called personal comments on the French president to be unacceptable. It said, “There is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstances.”
Emmanuel Macron took his Twitter and said no matter what, France would never give in.
We will not give in, ever.
We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate. We will always be on the side of human dignity and universal values.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) October 25, 2020