European groups urge Macron to stop stirring up hatred

More than 20 organizations that bring young Europeans together have decried French President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the murder of a teacher, saying it lacked wisdom and urged him to “reject hatred” and “divisive rhetoric”.

“We would like to ask you and your government to reconsider the unilateral assault on Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him),” the groups said in an open letter published on Saturday.

The European Muslim organizations slammed Macron’s reaction to the killing of Samuel Paty, a history teacher, and the deadly knife attack at a church in Nice which occurred in October.

Last month, Macron publicly attacked Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He made the remarks at a national memorial for the school teacher who had been murdered by a teenager of Chechen origin after he showed his students the caricatures of the Prophet (PBUH) earlier published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The French president said he would not “renounce the caricatures.” He described Islam as a religion “in crisis” and declared war on “Islamist separatism,” which he claimed was taking over France’s estimated six-million-strong Muslim population.

“Unfortunately, there has been neither wisdom nor moral leadership in your response,” the European groups said in their letter.

“Maligning Islam and your own Muslim citizens, closing mainstream mosques, Muslim and human rights organizations, and using this as an opportunity to stir up further hatred, has given further encouragement to racists and violent extremists.”

The signatories called on Macron “to reject hatred, marginalization and divisive rhetoric, and use your leadership to bring people together”.

While Muslims in France have denounced the killing of the teacher, they have also expressed fears of collective punishment amid a government crackdown against Islamic organizations.

In their letter, the groups denounced the French government’s crackdown as “opportunistic behavior” that “undermines the principles of the rule of law by closing down associations based on political motivations and without sound legal procedures”.

Macron’s comments have angered not only the Muslim community in France, but all Islamic nations, leading to protests and boycott calls.

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