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[Published: Thursday October 29 2020]

Macron’s clash with the Muslim world

PARIS, 29 Oct. - (ANA) - Three months ago, Emmanuel Macron was coming under fire from French conservatives after suggesting that teaching Arabic in schools could help combat radical Islam.

Less than a month later, the French president is embroiled in a diplomatic stand-off with Muslim countries angry about a crackdown on Islam in his avowedly secular republic.

Macron’s about-turn follows the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, who was murdered after presenting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils during a class about freedom of speech.

But the dispute runs deeper than the killing, laying bare France’s complex relationship with Islam and triggering calls for a boycott of French products in a string of Muslim-majority countries.

France has a long and less than harmonious history with Islam and its Muslim citizens who are treated as second class.

Macron's latest began with a call for French Muslims to cast off foreign influence and build an “Islam of light” - which provoked a furious diplomatic response in Turkey and Iran, as well as street protests in the Middle East and Asia.

Critics of Macron say he has adopted a double standard approach vis-avis the Muslim community in France who complain about being stigmatised and marginalised by the Frecnh authorities.  - (ANA) -

AB/ANA/29 October 2020 - - -

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