Macsa concerned about anti-Islamic developments in France, says Islamophobia not protected by human rights (Malay Mail Online)

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 ― The Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations (Macsa) has expressed concerns regarding the anti-Islam developments in France.

It said the actions in France following the beheading of a school teacher in Paris and another woman in Nice on Thursday was not Islamic and does not represent Muslim values.

In a statement, Macsa founder, lawyer Lukman Sheriff Alias, condemned France President Emmanuel Macron’s statement blaming Islam as a “religion in crisis all over the world”.

“Macsa follows the unrevealing of the incidences in France with great concern. It is bad enough that the government of France has allowed Charlie Hebdo to incite prejudices and hatred towards Islam as a religion and towards Muslim communities that profess this peaceful religion.

“To further inflame the gravity of the situation, its president has blunderingly blamed Islam as ‘a religion in crisis all over the world’ while defending Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures that meekly veil hate-speech as freedom of expression,” said Lukman.

Two attacks took place in France in the space of two weeks where a Paris school teacher and another woman were beheaded by Islamic extremists.

Samuel Paty a school teacher at a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old attacker who was apparently incensed by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Then on Thursday, a knife-wielding Tunisian man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice before being shot and taken away by police.

The French government, backed by many citizens, saw the beheading as an attack on freedom of speech, and said they would defend the right to display the cartoons.

Macron called the teacher a hero, and he pledged to fight “Islamist separatism,” saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France.

Macsa said apart from criminalising the fight against Islamophobia, France Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has proposed to ban the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), an association that tracks anti-Muslim hate crimes.

“It is shocking that instead of curtailing hate speech, the government seeks to suppress anti hate speech advocates!

“This is clearly a setback to the Muslim communities there as the government seemed to be focusing on stigmatising and criminalising Muslim communities when they too, are victims of Islamophobia,” the statement read.

“While Macsa wholeheartedly supports the Malaysian government’s stance to strongly condemn Macron’s statement, Macsa wishes to unequivocally state our condemnation of the beheading and killing of Samuel Paty and the carnage in Nice.”

France has been on high alert following the beheading and areas around the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower in central Paris were evacuated briefly yesterday in security alerts. There was no evidence the alerts were linked to the cartoons row.

*Published in Malay Mail Online & Fr24News.

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