SHARE
COPY LINK

MIDDLE EAST

French Muslim leaders call for calm

Muslim leaders in France, home to Europe's largest Islamic community, called for calm Thursday after an anti-Islam film sparked anti-US violence in North Africa and the Middle East.

"There is a certain agitation (in French mosques) about this affair. I hope there will not be any protests in France," said Abdallah Zekri, the head of an Islamophobia Observatory set up by the country's Muslim Council.

The rector of the Paris Grand Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, called on Muslims not to rise to "this provocaton knowingly perpetrated against Islam", while the Muslim Council said only "legal and fair means" should be used to defend the religion.

The council condemned an attack sparked by the film on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, where four Americans including the ambassador were killed.

The movie, titled "Innocence of Muslims", pokes fun at the Prophet Mohammed and portrays Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.

France is home to at least four million Muslims and leaders of the community say incidents of Islamophobia are on the rise against a background of confrontation with the authorities.

Many Muslims have been angered by legislation banning women from wearing full veils and this year's elections were marked by debate over the use of halal methods of animal slaughter.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ISLAM

Erdogan calls French separatism bill ‘guillotine’ of democracy

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday denounced a planned French law designed to counter "Islamist separatism" as a "guillotine" of democracy.

Erdogan calls French separatism bill 'guillotine' of democracy
Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as "anti-Muslim". Photo: Adem ALTAN/AFP

The draft legislation has been criticised both inside France and abroad for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups.

“The adoption of this law, which is openly in contradiction of human rights, freedom of religion and European values, will be a guillotine blow inflicted on French democracy,” said Erdogan in a speech in Ankara.

The current version of the planned law would only serve the cause of extremism, putting NGOs under pressure and “forcing young people to choose between their beliefs and their education”, he added.

READ ALSO: What’s in France’s new law to crack down on Islamist extremism?

“We call on the French authorities, and first of all President (Emmanuel) Macron, to act sensibly,” he continued. “We expect a rapid withdrawal of this bill.”

Erdogan also said he was ready to work with France on security issues and integration, but relations between the two leaders have been strained for some time.

France’s government is in the process of passing new legislation to crack down on what it has termed “Islamist separatism”, which would give the state more power to vet and disband religious groups judged to be threats to the nation.

Erdogan has already denounced the proposed measures as “anti-Muslim”.

READ ALSO: Has Macron succeeded in creating an ‘Islam for France’?

Last October, Erdogan questioned Macron’s “mental health”, accusing him of waging a “campaign of hatred” against Islam, after the French president defended the right of cartoonists to caricature the prophet Mohammed.

The two countries are also at odds on a number of other issues, including Libya, Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.

SHOW COMMENTS