Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (File Photo, Image credit: Voice of America)

Rouhani flays French President as India backs EU

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has, in a direct reference to French President Emmanuel Macron, said that Western support to cartoons made against the Prophet of Islam is unethical and insulting to all Muslims. He was of the view that freedom of expression is always accompanied by respect for other religions’ feelings and sentiments.

Thus Rouhani joined other Muslim leaders in criticizing the stand of France. He said: “Insulting the Prophet is insulting all Muslims. Insulting the Prophet is insulting all prophets, human values, and amounts to undermining ethics.” The Prophet is deeply revered by Muslims across the world and any kind of visual representation of him is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The latest caricatures published in France are being seen by Muslims as offensive as they are supposed to link Islam with terrorism. The images, seen as blasphemous to Muslims, are frequently published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It needs to be mentioned that it was the same magazine whose office was attacked in early 2015 by two Al-Qaeda linked terrorists.

Earlier on October 16, a French schoolteacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a Chechen teenager near his school after he showed the caricatures to his students as part of a debate on freedom of expression.

Meanwhile India has strongly criticized the personal attack on French President Macron and condemned the killing of the schoolteacher in a suburb of Paris.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement said: “We strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.” The French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain also thanked India for this gesture.

Incidentally, huge public protests were organized in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka in protest of the cartoons. The leader of the group which organized the protest urged Muslims around the world to boycott French products.

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