Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks on blasphemous caricatures, calling them “encouragement of Islamophobia”.
The Pakistan premeier was referring to comments made on Wednesday by President Macron in which he criticised Islamists and vowed not to “give up cartoons” depicting Prophet Muhammad.
The French president also contended that Samuel Paty, a teacher who was beheaded recently for showing the blasphemous sketches, was “killed because Islamists want our future”.
In a series of tweets Mr. Khan said the sign of a leader was that he united people like former South African president Nelson Mandela.
“This is a time when President Macron could have put [a] healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation,” he said.
Mr Khan regretted that the French president had instead chosen to encourage Islamophobia by “attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists”.
“By attacking Islam, clearly without having any understanding of it, President Macron has attacked and hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe and across the world,” he said, adding that, “the last thing the world wants or needs is further polarisation”.
He also asked social media giant Facebook to place a ban on Islamophobia and hate against Islam just as it had placed on the Holocaust.
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Mr Khan said: “I am writing to draw your attention to the growing Islamophobia that is encouraging hate, extremism and violence across the world and especially through the use of social media platforms including Facebook. I appreciate your taking the step to rightly ban any posting that criticises or questions the Holocaust, which was the culmination of the Nazi pogrom of the Jews in Germany and across Europe as Nazis spread across Europe.”
He said today we were seeing a similar pogrom against Muslims in different parts of the world.
“In India, anti-Muslim laws and measures such as CAA and NRC as well as targeted killings of Muslims and blaming Muslims for coronavirus are reflective of the abominable phenomenon of Islamophobia. In France, Islam has been associated with terrorism and publication of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam and our Holy Prophet (PBUH) has been allowed,” he wrote.
“Given the rampant abuse and vilification of Muslims on social media platforms, I would ask you to place a similar ban on Islamophobia and hate against Islam for Facebook that you have put in place for the Holocaust,” he added.