Brijender Mudgil is an Indian journalist and friend of The Taiwan Times, and this is the first of a two part piece on how France under President Emmanuel Macron is reacting vis-a-vis recent attacks on French citizens on French soil, by suspected Islamist terrorists, and the role played by leaders in some of the world’s most prominent Islamic nations in stoking religious tensions.
On the 26th of October the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution
against France and its government’s stance on free speech.
The statement of the French President on the issue was candid and clear – that freedom of speech for French people is enshrined in the constitution of France, and it will not be
subordinated to any religion, race or creed.
If anyone wants to live in France, he / she is under obligation to abide by the law and constitution of the country.
France is the first country to detach religion and church from their country’s governing process with the same principal applied to other religions and faiths.
The action of the entire Pakistani establishment, however, is very much running along expected lines, and because Turkey was the first nation to openly criticize France, Pakistan now wants to play the role of second fiddle; both nations keen to be seen emerging as leaders of Islam, and Islamic countries across the world.
The President of Turkey Mr. Tayyip Erdogan subsequently ignored all diplomatic norms by launching personal attacks on the French president, calling him “mentally unstable.”
As a result the relations between the two countries came hurtling down to a level not seen in recent decades resulting in the October 24th decision by the French government to recall its ambassador from Turkey.
Prior to this, and before the murder of French school teacher Mr. Samuel Paty in mid-October, on the 25th of September, a Pakistani asylum seeker living in France, launched a murderous attack on two strangers with a knife.
The two individuals in question were standing in front of the closed offices of Charlie Hebdo – the Pakistani national attacking them as he thought them to be the workers at the magazine.
The attacker was apprehended in possession of flammable material before he could burn down the magazine’s offices, and had been surviving on French government assistance. He still is!
Mr. Imran Khan, President of Pakistan never once condemned this Pakistani terrorist, and later remained silent after the horrific murder of French school teacher Samuel Paty.
However, on October 28th he released a letter addressing leaders of Islamic countries, asking them to unite against France and other European leaders as a response to their apparent Islamophobia.
This sort of ‘farman’ (a decree / call for action in Islamic terms) was issued to the world from his Twitter account.
The entire Pakistani assembly then passed a government resolution to recall its ambassador to France before realising they actually had no ambassador in the country.
As a result of the ongoing spat, public demonstrations have taken place against France in many Islamic countries – Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Pakistan included.
A pro-Muslim brotherhood in the Tunisian media titled “Meem” warned France about a coming civil war, and the Algerian Press did the same.
There is a general call to boycott French goods across the Islamic world.
The French magazine Charlie Hebdo in response announced that they would reprint their Mohammad cartoons to commemorate the anniversary of the 2015, attack on their office which led to 12 of their staff losing their lives.
Many Muslim organizations have reportedly approached the French government to prevent this, but French President Emmanuel Macron opined that publishers have secured the right to publish under the French constitution and that his government will abide by the constitution.
It was this principle of freedom of expression, of speech, that cost Samuel Paty his life and in the past few hours led to yet more death and destruction on the streets of Vienna in Austria – Pt. II tomorrow – November 4th.