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Macron to Muslims: I hear your anger, but won't accept violence

27 Comments
By Sarah White and Michel Rose

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he respected Muslims who were shocked by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad but that was no excuse for violence, as his officials ramped up security after a knife attack in a French church that killed three people this week.

An assailant shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in Nice on Thursday, in France's second deadly knife attack in two weeks with a suspected Islamist motive.

The suspected assailant, a 21-year-old from Tunisia, was shot by police and is now in critical condition in a hospital.

Police said on Saturday that another person was taken into custody in connection with the attack. That person joins three others already in custody on suspicion of contacts with the attacker.

Macron has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites such as places of worship and schools, and ministers have warned that other Islamist militant attacks could take place.

The Nice attack, on the day Muslims celebrated the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, came amid growing Muslim anger across the world over France's defence of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet.

On Oct. 16, Samuel Paty, a school teacher in a Paris suburb, was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen who was apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class during a civics lesson.

Protesters have denounced France in street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries, and some have called for boycotts of French goods.

France, on edge in anticipation of more possible attacks, was jolted on Saturday evening when a Greek Orthodox priest was shot and wounded in his church in the south-eastern city of Lyon. But officials gave no indication that terrorism was suspected.

In an effort to rectify what he said were misapprehensions about France's intentions in the Muslim world, Macron gave an interview to Arabic television network Al Jazeera that was broadcast on Saturday.

In it, he said France would not back down in the face of violence and would defend the right to free expression, including the publication of cartoons.

But he stressed that did not mean he or his officials supported the cartoons, which Muslims consider blasphemous, or that France was in any way anti-Muslim.

"So I understand and respect that people could be shocked by these cartoons, but I will never accept that one can justify physical violence over these cartoons, and I will always defend the freedom in my country to write, to think, to draw," Macron said, according to an interview transcript released by his office.

"My role is to calm things down, which is what I'm doing, but at the same time, it's to protect these rights."

France's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor has said the man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack was a Tunisian born in 1999 who had arrived in Europe on Sept. 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia.

Prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Palermo, in Italy, are investigating the man's subsequent passage through the island, including the people he might have been in touch with there, and are requisitioning phone records, judicial sources told Reuters.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the suspect arrived in the Italian city of Bari in early October, on a ship used to quarantine migrants, before leaving for Palermo, the sources said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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There is no excuse for violence.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is from a guy who launched cruise missiles on civilian Syrians based on Western govt-funded support for Terrorist Al Nusra and Al-Quida under the guise of fake White Helmet justification.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Macron and his failed nation state civic nationalism has nothing to fight this with, nothing. Liberalism is hoist by its own petard.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Nobody can 'hear' others' anger adequately or appropriately. They need to feel (apart from seeing the raging behavior) the burning anger of those in fury.

Of course, Macron does not want violence to damage France. Nonetheless, for those whose voices are never heard, they do not know what else to do.

Nobody wants to condone irrational recklessness, let alone wild killing of innocent. There must be a better way out. Any idea?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Macron needs to do something about radical Islam or we're going to end up with the nutters in power like in the US. And we've all seen the "success" over there.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The cartoons and suchlike are insensitive, sure - but if one's faith is strong, surely it should be able to overcome some unfunny caricatures?

Liberalism is hoist by its own petard.

Ironic, that. Have you seen your violent avatar?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Macron needs to do something about radical Islam or we're going to end up with the nutters in power like in the US. 

It’s a very good point. If moderates like Macron doesn’t do something about this, you can end up with the electorate turning to leaders and policies as intolerant, narrow-minded and exclusionary as you find in the Muslim world.

Europe needs to be a place where tolerant people should be allowed in to escape intolerance.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So they speak of tolerance but have none, they speak of inclusion but they offer none, they offer violence and demand acceptance !

Europe is long gone and everyone knows it, let it be an example to the rest of the world that this ideology does not integrate and does not play well with others.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

 this ideology does not integrate and does not play well with others.

Never mind that it is a small percentage of people who practice Islam that commit acts of violence. The including that in discourse requires nuance, which is alien to conservatives.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Madverts

Macron needs to do something about radical Islam or we're going to end up with the nutters in power like in the US. And we've all seen the "success" over there.

Err, what? Seems to me the nutters are in power in France, Germany, and Sweden, and not in the US.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

There are millions of Jihadists willing to kill and die, God willing. Even young children are trained. It's an honor for them to kill and die. How do we deal with that?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

P. Smith

 this ideology does not integrate and does not play well with others.

Never mind that it is a small percentage of people who practice Islam that commit acts of violence. The including that in discourse requires nuance, which is alien to conservatives.

Read again. The quote was about "ideology" and not "percentage of people". The majority of CCP, Boshevik, or Nazi party members were not radical Gulag guards either but rather only followers. The "majority" excuse does not hold.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Read again. The quote was about "ideology" and not "percentage of people". The majority of CCP, Boshevik, or Nazi party members were not radical Gulag guards either but rather only followers. The "majority" excuse does not hold.

So, an ideology is capable of integrating and playing well with others? Sure, that makes complete sense.

The fact that a majority of those who follow the ideology of Islam aren’t violent or intolerant is not an excuse; it’s a fact. I know you rightists are allergic to facts, but they still exist.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

There are millions of Jihadists willing to kill and die, God willing. Even young children are trained. It's an honor for them to kill and die. How do we deal with that?

Remove the motivation that causes them to be willing to kill and die.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are millions of Jihadists willing to kill and die, God willing. Even young children are trained. It's an honor for them to kill and die. How do we deal with that?

Remove the motivation that causes them to be willing to kill and die.

You mean remove freedom of speech and expression when it comes to Islam?

It isn’t just cartoons. It can be novels, films, scholarly articles about the authenticity of the Koran, opinions about Mohammed and others which can result in murder and mayhem. Theo Van Gogh was butchered for a film, Salman Rushdie escaped execution but a translator of his novel didn’t, Ayaan Hirsi Ali lived in bazooka-proof accommodation for her apostasy and criticism of the faith in the Netherlands etc.

Just say nice things about this particular faith which does seem to result in a lot of the things liberal people like myself are against?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

P. Smith

So, an ideology is capable of integrating and playing well with others? Sure, that makes complete sense.

There are ideologies that can, and there are ideologies that can not. That is fact.

The fact that a majority of those who follow the ideology of Islam aren’t violent or intolerant is not an excuse; it’s a fact. I know you rightists are allergic to facts, but they still exist.

As I pointed out, it is an excuse. Because the majority members of any ideology are passive; it is always the activist believers we have to worry about. So excusing a virulent ideology by saying they are not the majority is a cop-out.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

You mean remove freedom of speech and expression when it comes to Islam?

No. I mean remove the causes that create poverty in the countries I’m which radical Islam is espoused. People living in poverty are prime targets for radicalization.

The intolerance is a byproduct of the radicalism.

Personally, I think it is the responsibility of the media in every country that values freedom if the press and religious freedom to reprint the caricature.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Jimizo

It isn’t just cartoons. It can be novels, films, scholarly articles about the authenticity of the Koran, opinions about Mohammed and others which can result in murder and mayhem.

Actually, the cartoons themselves are really "opinions". There are no photographs of Mohammed, it is only the believers that somehow recognize him in some illustrations. So if I draw a stick figure and call it Jesus, no problem. If I change title and call it Mohammed, I get threats of beheading. For the same stick figure.

So the cartoon issue are really about speech.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There are ideologies that can, and there are ideologies that can not. That is fact.

Ideologies, like firearms, cannot act without human intervention.

As I pointed out, it is an excuse. Because the majority members of any ideology are passive; it is always the activist believers we have to worry about. So excusing a virulent ideology by saying they are not the majority is a cop-out.

The ideology itself is no virulent. It has been made so by a tiny minority of practitioners.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

P. Smith

Ideologies, like firearms, cannot act without human intervention.

What is "intervention" supposed to mean? Ideologies are belief systems and determine human behaviour.

The ideology itself is no virulent. It has been made so by a tiny minority of practitioners.

The same applies to Communism and Nazism. Do you make the same argument for those?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

P. Smith

No. I mean remove the causes that create poverty in the countries I’m which radical Islam is espoused. People living in poverty are prime targets for radicalization.

Poverty? Like in Saudi-Arabia, home of Osama Bin Ladin, most of the 9-11 pilots, and a large part of ISIS?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Muslim's, Christian's and Jews have been killing each other for thousands of years. There are rich muslim countries like all those in the Middle East which have great wealth but extremism survives in them. Sunni muslim killing Shia muslim.

It's very difficult to try and educate one billion people away from their basic beliefs in Quran just as it is with the Jews and Christians with their beliefs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichi

It's very difficult to try and educate one billion people away from their basic beliefs in Quran just as it is with the Jews and Christians with their beliefs.

.,,,alas this is the false equivalency that is so typical in the West. Among the 3 belief systems you mention, there is only one that has the concept of Jihad and of Dar-al-Salam (i.e. the final goal of submitting the whole world under Sharia). The two others have accepted the separation of religion and state.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

.,,,alas this is the false equivalency that is so typical in the West.

You have overlooked the Iraq and Afghan wars and the bombings of Libya. The Israeli attacks against the Palestinians and their continued oppression.

On the America dollar it says "In God We Trust!" America accepting Saudi because of oil and their mass buying of American weapons. Ignoring that the 9/11 terrorists came from there.

Who sells the weapons to the muslims.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a good thing that people draw the pictures of mohammad, as these drawings are absolutely imperative to maintaining all life on this planet, for if someone decided not to draw one of these images, a portal would open up to hell, demons would spill out, and literally kill all life on this planet, including the Muslims.

So of course we MUST draw these pictures, and we MUST keep on offending Muslims. The alternative is obliteration of humanity.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Europe is long gone and everyone knows it

That's odd. It was still there, the last time I went home. Has anyone checked behind the sofa?

let it be an example to the rest of the world that this ideology does not integrate and does not play well with others.

I agree, the ideology that Europeans don't integrate is a non-starter. But maybe your Muslim friends/colleagues/neighbors disagree?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There were Jihadist attacks prior to the cartoons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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