Frenchman held in Dakar over ‘insulting’ Islam

A French national has been remanded in custody in Senegal over charges of "insulting" Islam, judicial sources told AFP on Saturday.

Frenchman held in Dakar over 'insulting' Islam
The man is accused of insulting the Prophet during an argument with his employer. Photo: Seyllou / AFP file picture

The Frenchman appeared before a judge on Thursday, and has been remanded in custody and held at the main prison in Dakar since, one source said.

“He had an argument with his boss and he insulted the Prophet (Mohammed), the Koran and all the Muslim community,” the source added.

Another judicial source confirmed the incident, adding that the Frenchman was now being held in Dakar's main jail in Rebeuss.

“His employer filed a complaint against him for breach of trust,” the source said, adding that the Frenchman was accused of misappropriating money intended for an ailing colleague.

After an argument with his employer, the Frenchman sent text messages “insulting” Muslims, the source said.

The court charged the man on several counts, including breach of trust and insulting religion.

The L'Observateur daily said on Saturday the employer's complaint referred to “the sacrilegious text messages that his employee sent”, which referred to Mohammed.

Speaking to AFP, a French diplomatic source confirmed the man's arrest, adding that it was made after the argument with the employer.

“We don't have any other details. justice will take its course,” the source said.

In January 2015, Senegal banned the publication of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Liberation daily, when they reprinted a cartoon of the Islamic Prophet.

More than 92 percent of Senegal's population of 14 million are Muslims.


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.