29 November 2023

By Al Qalam Reporter

South African Muslims have joined the growing global outrage against French President Emanuel Macron for his anti-Muslim stance and his blatant support for the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

Macron sparked outrage across the Muslim world by accusing French Muslims of “separatism” and described Islam as “a religion in crisis.” Many Muslim-majority countries have launched a boycott of French goods.

Local body, Awqaf-SA said it was disgusted by the “current offensive attacks on the venerated Prophet of humanity, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be upon Him) emanating from France.”

Mickaeel Collier, Deputy CEO, of Awqaf-SA said: “We also note with deep concern the grossly uninformed statements of French President Macron that Islam is in a “crisis”. Islam is the fastest growing faith on earth, hardly the sign of a “crisis”.

“Muslims respect and love all Prophets. Islam affords all Prophets of God equal honour, and the veneration afforded to them is a central tenet of our faith.”

“The caricatures widely distributed in the French media seek only to demonize the Holy personality of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), whilst at the same time unnecessarily provoke and insult over a billion Muslims across the globe.”

“Freedom of speech, a human right, does not – however – allow carte blanche disrespect, hate speech and statements that have the potential to cause a modern day holocaust of the minority Muslim community in France.

Collier said the irresponsible, dangerous statements by the French President will only serve to ignite a rash of Islamaphobic attacks on the Muslim community.

He added that the values of democracy, egalitarianism, liberty and freedom, as espoused in the founding principles of the French Republic, are aimed at protecting vulnerable communities, not exterminating them.”

“Furthermore, the unwarranted vilification of Muslim leaders, like Turkey’s President Erdogan who has championed on behalf of the Muslim world the dignity of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), must stop immediately.”

“We further call on the people of France to reject these Islamaphobic attacks and realise that these provocations are being used as a political tool in French aspirations of neo-colonialism in the Mediterranean and northern African region. We pray that respect and dignity for religious freedoms and expression prevails,” Collier said.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Khalid Sayed, lawmaker with the ANC told Andadolu Agency: “This narrative that is racist and bigoted that leaders like Macron are espousing, is to deter and strike fear and hatred.”

“It is also a way of Macron trying to shift focus away from his own domestic problems amongst the French population around issues of corruption and cutting of social spending,” said Sayed, who chairs the provincial branch of the ANC Youth League. “The move toward Islam in the west is striking fear in western leaders like Macron and they use this narrative for cheap political means to stay relevant and in power.”

Shafiq Morton, a journalist based in Cape Town said. “Like so many European orientalists, Macron thinks democracy and secularism are about being the same, and being identical, which is actually neo-Fascism,” he said.

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