HUNDREDS of British Muslims prayed before protesting against Emmanuel Macron outside the French embassy in London. The group took their noon prayers outside the building this afternoon after Macron defended cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed being published.
The protesters held banners saying “don’t divide humanity” and “insult is not freedom of speech”. The French President’s defence of the controversial cartoons created by Charlie Hebdo have sparked worldwide protests. The caricatures are considered blasphemous by Muslims, with many now boycotting French products.
Thousands in Tunisia, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, Russia have taken to the streets to burn pictures of Macron, with demonstrations also held in Bangladesh, India and Iran. The row flared after a French teacher who showed pupils cartoons of the Prophet published in the satirical magazine was beheaded in France earlier this month.
Samuel Paty, 47, was killed by 18-year-old Abdullah Anzorov on October 17 after using the drawing to teach his students about free speech. The image he showed pupils was the one published by Charlie Hebdo which sparked an attack on the magazine’s offices that killed 12 in 2015. The French government saw the knife attack as an attack on freedom of speech.
Macron announced up to 7,000 soldiers will be deployed to the streets across France in the wake of the violence to protect landmarks, schools and places of worship. He denounced the Nice bloodbath as an “Islamic terror attack” and defiantly said France will not “give up on our values”.
Furthering anger, Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon on its cover showing Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink and lifting the skirt of a woman wearing an Islamic hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
Thousands of demonstrators have denounced France in protests in several Muslim countries amid the row over Macron’s defence of the right to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.