Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has condemned the Islamophobic comments made by French and other Western officials, saying disrespecting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) is equal to insulting all Muslims and human values.
“It is surprising that those who claim [to be advocating] culture and democracy somehow encourage others, albeit unintentionally, to [commit] violence and bloodshed,” he told a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
Respect for others, morality and freedom were among the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBHU), he noted, stressing that vilification, insults and drawing offensive caricatures do not manifest democracy and humanity.
“It is surprising that the countries, which claim [to be promoters of] freedom, rights and law encourage people to insult each other and those loved by [other] people,” Rouhani said.
The president added, “The Westerners should understand that the great Prophet of Islam is loved by all Muslims and freedom-seeking people in the world. Insulting the Prophet is a violation of morality and an insult to all Muslims, divine prophets and human values.”
Earlier this month, French history teacher Samuel Paty provoked outrage by showing his students the blasphemous cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) earlier published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
He was murdered outside his school in a Paris suburb on October 16 by an 18-year-old assailant, identified as Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police soon after the killing.
French President Emmanuel Macron characterized the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack.”
Macron claimed Islam as a religion was in a state of “crisis” and defended the offensive cartoons, which have hurt the feelings of Muslims in France and elsewhere.
The remarks triggered anti-France sentiment in the Muslim world, prompting calls for the boycott of French goods and an official apology.
Elsewhere in his address, the Iranian chief executive urged the Western countries not to meddle in the affairs of Muslims states.
“If the West, Europe and France are sincere about their efforts for peace and security, they should stop interfering in the affairs of Muslims,” he said.