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AFP
November 1, 2020

Macron says he can ‘understand’ shock of blasphemy

National

AFP
November 1, 2020

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron has said he could understand if Muslims were shocked by blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as French authorities on Saturday sought to ascertain if a young Tunisian suspected of killing three people in a knife rampage inside a Nice church had outside help.France is on edge after the blasphemy in early September of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which was followed by an attack outside its former offices, the beheading of a teacher and now the attack in Nice. Macron sparked protests in the Muslim world after the murder earlier this month of teacher Samuel Paty who had committed blasphemy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by saying France would never renounce its right to blasphemy. But in an apparent bid to reach out to Muslims, Macron gave a long interview setting out his vision to Qatar-based TV channel Al-Jazeera, seeking to strike a softer tone. "I can understand that people could be shocked by the blasphemy but I will never accept that violence can be justified," he said. "I consider it our duty to protect our freedoms and our rights," he added in an extract of the interview to be broadcast from 1600 GMT.

France is still reeling from the latest attack in Nice which Macron has already described as "Islamist" terror. Brahim Issaoui, 21, only arrived in Europe from Tunisia last month and, according to prosecutors, killed the sexton, a Brazilian woman and a French woman in the attack in the Notre-Dame Basilica on Thursday morning.