Protesters gathered in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Tuesday for another demonstration against French president Emmanuel Macron following his comments following the beheading of a French school teacher.
The latest protests come a day after Pakistan summoned the French ambassador to complain about Macron’s “systematic Islamophobia campaign” after he defended the freedom to publish religious cartoons in France.
Further protests took place on Monday after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused Macron of “attacking Islam”.
Macron sparked outrage after he indicated France would not stop publishing satirical cartoons, including those of the Prophet Muhammad, in a national tribute to the slain teacher, Samuel Paty, by saying: “We will not give up cartoons, pictures, even if others back down”.
Paty was beheaded outside her school by an Islamic extremist after being taught a lesson on free speech using a caricature from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The French ambassador was called “to express Pakistan’s concern about the systematic Islamophobia campaign under the guise of freedom of expression” in France, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, spokesman for Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, told AFP.
“President Macron could have provided calm,” Khan, a former cricket star and playboy turned politician, tweeted on Sunday.
“It is unfortunate that he chose to promote Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than violent terrorists, whether they are Muslim, white supremacist or Nazi ideologues,” he continued.
On Sunday, Pakistan’s prime minister also announced that he had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to block Islamophobic content, after the platform announced in mid-October that it would ban Holocaust denial content.
Anti-French sentiment is running high in the Muslim world, with many countries now boycotting French products in response to Macron’s comments.
As the boycott escalated on Sunday, the French president doubled his stance, tweeting: “We will not give up, forever”.
“We respect all differences in the spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and maintain a fair debate,” he added. “We will always stand for human dignity and universal values.”
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