Pakistan summons Ambassador Marc Barety, expresses concern over Islamophobia

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Pakistan has summoned France’s ambassador in Islamabad to express its deep concerns over what it called “systematic … Islamophobic acts” in the European country.

Ambassador Marc Barety was summoned to the foreign office in Pakistan’s capital on Monday morning, a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for encouraging Islamophobia.

The row centres around recent remarks by Macron regarding Islam and the issue of “blasphemy” that have sparked outrage in several Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan, Turkey and in the Gulf.

“[Paty was killed] because he embodied the Republic which comes alive every day in classrooms, the freedom that is conveyed and perpetuated in schools,” said Macron.

“Samuel Paty was killed because Islamists want our future and because they know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it,” he added.

Muslims believe any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. On Friday, the cartoons were projected onto government buildings in France.

Macron, who in September had defended the “right to blaspheme” under free speech rights, pledged earlier this month to fight what he termed “Islamist separatism” in France.

“The problem is an ideology which claims its own laws should be superior to those of the Republic,” he said during a visit to an impoverished Paris suburb on October 2.

The French government, he added, would work to enforce regulations that limit home schooling and to take other administrative actions that would limit what Macron referred to as “indoctrination”.

The remarks have been met with anger in some quarters.

In recent days Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Macron needed “mental treatment” for his statements. On Sunday, France recalled its ambassador to Ankara over those comments.

The row deepened on Monday, with Erdogan calling on Turkish people to not buy French goods.

Trade associations in several Arab countries had already announced a boycott of French products on Sunday, the same Khan also criticised Macron for his comments.

“This is a time when Pres[ident] Macron could have put healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation,” the Pakistani prime minister said in a Twitter post.

“It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists.”

Khan did not explicitly mention the attack on Paty, or other violent attacks related to alleged blasphemy, in his comments on Sunday.

Source: News Agency

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