France is not fighting Islam, only Islamist extremism, Macron says

France is not fighting Islam, only Islamist extremism, Macron says
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country is fighting "Islamist separatism, never Islam", responding to a Financial Times article that he claimed misquoted him and has since been removed from the newspaper's website.

In a letter to the editor published Wednesday, Macron said the British paper had accused him of “stigmatising French Muslims for electoral purposes and of fostering a climate of fear and suspicion towards them”. 

“I will not allow anybody to claim that France, or its government, is fostering racism against Muslims,” he said.

An opinion article written by a Financial Times correspondent published Tuesday alleged that Macron's condemnation of “Islamic separatism” risked fostering a “hostile environment” for French Muslims.

The article was later removed from the paper's website, replaced with a notice saying it had “contained factual errors”.

The French president sparked protests across the Muslim world after last month's murder of teacher Samuel Paty — who had shown his class a cartoon of Mohammed – by saying France would never renounce its laws permitting
blasphemous caricatures.

Islam forbids depictions of Mohammed.

Following the protests and boycotts of French goods across the world, Macron told the Al-Jazeera network over the weekend that he understood the caricatures could be shocking for some. 

But recounting a wave of Islamist attacks in France since 2015, Macron warned in his letter this week that there were still “breeding grounds” for extremism in France.

“In certain districts and on the internet, groups linked to radical Islam are teaching hatred of the republic to our children, calling on them to disregard its laws,” he wrote. 

“This is what France is fighting against… hatred and death that threaten its children – never against Islam. We oppose deception, fanaticism, violent extremism. Not a religion.”


Member comments

  1. @Rob, Muslim students WERE told to look away if they didn’t want to see the cartoon of Mohammed. They young muslim student who went back to her father and told him that the teacher was showing these cartoons, wasn’t even in the class at the time. The angry father got onto twitter and told all his friends how awful the teacher was, and the dreadful cartoons he was showing the class. So one of the lunatic extremist islamist decapitated him.
    These people don’t respect freedom of speech and they don’t accept that this is a laic country, where we ARE allowed to say whatever we like about religion, religious beings, atheism, etc, etc.
    What are these people doing here if they don’t accept us the way we are? Why don’t they go and live in one of their own islamist countries where they can behave in whatever manner they feel comfortable with, and not hate us for the way we are or behave?

  2. Very good to see him standing up for himself.

    It occurred to me that the prohibition of depictions of the prophet is a restriction that believers need to adhere to…much like the various dietary restrictions of different faiths are a requirement for its adherents, not those outside those specific faiths.

    As such, when this subject was being taught, Muslim students could have been given the option to sit out that particular lesson if they wanted to (not having followed this story, I do not know if this was done or even if there were Muslim students in that teachers class). When I was at school Jehovah’s Witness children were allowed to skip some classes that went against their beliefs (they went to the school library).

    It is a small gesture of respect that can in itself foster a greater sense of inclusion.

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