Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went on Twitter on Monday to denounce French President Emanuel Macron for “insulting Muslims and their sanctities”, emphasising that such actions serve to fuel extremism.
Muslims are the primary victims of the "cult of hatred"—empowered by colonial regimes & exported by their own clients.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 26, 2020
Insulting 1.9B Muslims—& their sanctities—for the abhorrent crimes of such extremists is an opportunistic abuse of freedom of speech.
It only fuels extremism.
The strongly-worded remarks followed a speech delivered by French President Emmanuel Macron on 21 October during a commemoration ceremony for French history teacher Samuel Paty, murdered on 16 October by a radicalised teenager of Chechen origin after he had displayed caricatures depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad to his students.
Macron called for people to “free Islam in France from the foreign influence”, stressing that the country would continue to defend freedom of expression.
The French President vowed new legislation that would create "enlightened Islam" in France, include stricter oversight of schooling and control over foreign funding of mosques.
"Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, we are not just seeing this in our country," said Macron.
Measures announced by Macron will reportedly form legislation set to go to parliament before the end of the year.
However, Emmanuel Macron’s comments, in addition to his backing of satirical outlets publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, have drawn widespread condemnation from Muslims across the world, many of which urged for a boycott of French goods.
Iranian state media reported that the country's Foreign Ministry had summoned the French ambassador over the country’s officials’ “insistence” on adopting anti-Islamic stances.
“The French officials’ injudicious reaction to the move by extremists who commit acts of violence in the name of Islam will only lay the groundwork for the growth of tendencies that are deviant and are not in conformity with this divine faith (Islam), which only promises tolerance, rationality, peace and justice-seeking,” stressed the deputy director general for European affairs at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.