Macron said on Friday that his government was working to propose a bill to France’s parliament next year to address what he called “Islamist isolationism and separatism”.
Under the plan, France will fight what Macron described the favoring of religious laws over France’s republican, secular “values”.
Macron described Islam as “a religion that is today in crisis all over the world.”
“Islam in France must be freed from foreign influence,” he said.
The Islamic Research Academy at a-Azhar (AIRA) reacted to his remarks in a statement on Sunday, saying the French leader has directed “false accusations that have nothing to do with the true context of religion.”
The religious body said it totally rejects Macron’s remarks, which “destroy all joint efforts by religious figures to eliminate racism and bullying against religions.”
The academy further said that Islam calls for “tolerance and peace” among people, even among those who do not believe in the religion.
It further called for abandoning attacks against religions, as they obstruct constructive dialog and back hate speech.
The Macron government recently came under fire when it failed to condemn French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s republication of defamatory cartoons of Islam’s prophet.
Many believed that the government’s silence was not to defend freedom of speech, but meant to stoke freedom of hate speech against Muslims.