130 Iranian MPs want France to apologize to Muslims over profane remarks

October 31, 2020 - 17:38

TEHRAN - In a statement issued on Saturday, 130 Iranian MPs asked the French officials to apologize Muslim nations for using sacrilegious language against Muslims and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

“French statesmen should openly repent of this flagrant and inhumane move and appease and apologize to Muslim nations in the world,” part of the statement said.

The MPs warned if the French officials refuse to do so they will face reaction by all monotheists in the world.

The lawmakers also asked the Iranian Foreign Ministry to summon the French ambassador in Tehran over the blasphemous remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

The head of a United Nations anti-extremism body has expressed “deep concern” over growing tensions over satirical cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, urging “mutual respect” between people of different faiths and political views.

The statement on Wednesday by Miguel Angel Moratinos – who heads the UN Alliance of Civilizations – follows growing anger in the Muslim world over France’s response to the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils the images as part of a class on free speech.

Macron has vigorously defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet on free speech grounds, sparking angry protests across swathes of the Muslim world and campaigns to boycott French products.

“The inflammatory caricatures have also provoked acts of violence against innocent civilians who were attacked for their sheer religion, belief or ethnicity,” Moratinos said in the statement, without explicitly referring to Macron’s defense of the images.

“Insulting religions and sacred religious symbols provokes hatred and violent extremism leading to polarization and fragmentation of the society,” he warned.

The statement said freedom of religion and freedom of expression are “interdependent, interrelated and mutually re-enforcing rights” rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Upholding and protecting these fundamental rights is the primary responsibility of member states,” the statement read.

Many activists have criticized France for attacking sacred symbols of minorities in the name of freedom of speech.

On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended free speech but added that it was "not without limits" and should not "arbitrarily and needlessly hurt" certain communities.

"We will always defend freedom of expression," Trudeau said in response to a question about the right to show a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, as France's Charlie Hebdo magazine did.

In a post on its Twitter page, the AFP news agency said, “French President Emmanuel Macron expressed understanding that cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed could shock Muslims, but said that this could never be used to justify violence.”

AFP said Macron made the remarks in an interview with Al-Jazeera that was to be broadcast in full on Saturday.


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