Pakistani President Arif Alvi urged Muslim world leaders to unanimously raise their voices against blasphemy as Emmanuel Macron said that France would not "renounce the caricatures" of the Prophet Muhammad.
In his message on Friday on the occasion of Eid Milad-un Nabi, the observance of the birth of Muhammad, Alvi condemned the desecration of the prophet in the West.
The call for unity came two days after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to leaders of Islamic countries to act collectively to counter what he termed as “growing Islamophobia” in non-Muslim countries.
“The recent statements at the leadership level and incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran are a reflection of this increasing Islamophobia that is spreading in European countries where sizeable Muslim population resides”, wrote Khan.
The Pakistani prime minister told Muslim state leaders that the time had come for the Islamic world to take this message with clarity and unity to the rest of the world, especially the Western world so an end is put to Islamophobia and "attacks" on Islam.
My letter to leaders of Muslim states to act collectively to counter the growing Islamophobia in non-Muslim states esp Western states causing increasing concern amongst Muslims the world over. pic.twitter.com/OFuaKGu2c1— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 28, 2020
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the meantime, has supported France and condemned the recent terror attacks in France, including Thursday's knife attack in Nice and the beheading of a French teacher, who displayed the caricatures of the Islamic prophet in class two weeks ago.
I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France, including today's heinous attack in Nice inside a church. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of France. India stands with France in the fight against terrorism.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 29, 2020
Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, who arrived in Paris in the wake of the attacks on Thursday, said both countries face threats from radical elements.
“India and France face similar non-traditional security threats in the form of radicalism and terrorism, and increasingly cyber-security challenges. In some respects these are linked – not least because online radicalisation has emerged as a pressing concern. Both India and France have suffered”, he said in a speech at the Institut Francais des Relations Internationales in Paris on Thursday.
The statements come as France is in mourning after three people were killed in a knife attack at a church in the city of Nice on Thursday. French President Macron termed it an "Islamist terrorist attack", and the country has raised its national security alert system to the highest "attack emergency" level.
The incident occurred days after a radicalised teen of Chechen origin beheaded 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty on 16 October in the outskirts of Paris for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.
In 2005, Prophet Muhammad cartoons appeared in a Danish newspaper, leading to protests across the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Islamic countries. Depictions of the prophet are considered offensive to Muslims.
The cartoon was published again in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, triggering attacks on its offices, in which 12 people were killed.