Anti-Macron fury rages across the Muslim world, with thousands of burning effigies and footprints on the face of the French president as well as numerous threats of violent jihad following the Turkish President’s incendiary remarks against France. “We will continue to go against any politician who insults our religion and values,” he said.
Daily Mail Erdogan added, ‘We feel we owe no apology to anyone for expressing our strong opposition to racism and xenophobia. We categorically deny any effort to associate us with any kind of violence.’
ERDOGAN’S WORDS BEFORE TERROR ATTACK
On Saturday, Erdogan launched a broadside at Macron, saying that he needs to undergo ‘mental checks’ for treating ‘millions of members from the Islamic faith groups this way’.
On Monday, he stepped up his attacks even further, describing European leaders as ‘fascists’ and ‘links in the chains of Nazism’ for what he called the persecution of Muslims in Europe.
Erdogan added that Muslims on the continent ‘are now subjected to a lynch campaign similar to that against Jews in Europe before World War II’.
Singling out Macron, he told European leaders to ‘put and end’ to what he called the French President’s ‘anti-Islam’ agenda.
On Wednesday the row escalated once again, after Charlie Hebdo published a front-page cartoon of Erdogan lifting a woman’s burka to look at her naked backside, while saying: ‘Ooh, the Prophet.’
The cartoon appeared underneath a headline which read: ‘Erdogan: In private, he’s very funny’.
The Turkish leader condemned ‘scoundrels’ for publishing the cartoon and accused the West of wanting to ‘relaunch the crusades’.
The day after his remarks were published, the attack on the church in Nice was launched.
Macron has launched an impassioned defence of freedom of expression and described teacher Samuel Paty as a ‘quiet hero’ after he was murdered for showing the Prophet Mohammed cartoons to his class.
But Muslim leaders have said that the caricatures are taking free speech too far and accused France of promoting an anti-Islam agenda.
Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Bangladesh on Friday, chanting slogans such as ‘boycott French products’ and carrying banners calling Macron ‘the world’s biggest terrorist’ as they marched in Dhaka.
In Pakistan, thousands of Muslims in Pakistan poured out of prayer services to voice their anger at Macron after celebrating the Mawlid, the festival marking the birthday of the Prophet.
An estimated 2,000 worshippers took to the streets in the eastern city of Lahore where crowds led by Islamic parties chanted anti-France slogans and clogged major roads en route to a Sufi shrine.
In Multan, a city in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, thousands burned an effigy of Macron and demanded that Pakistan sever ties with France.
More gatherings were planned for later Friday in Pakistan, including the capital, Islamabad, where police were out in force to prevent possible demonstrations outside the French embassy.
In Afghanistan, members of the Islamist party Hezb-i-Islami set the French flag ablaze.
Its leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, warned Macron that if he doesn’t ‘control the situation, we are going to a third world war and Europe will be responsible.’
There were also protests among the Muslim minority in India, despite a statement by the country’s government saying that ‘we strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron’.
Other protests, largely organized by Islamists, are expected across the region, including in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
On Thursday, knife-wielding Tunisian terrorist Brahim Aoussaoui killed three people after bursting into a Catholic church in Nice, wounding several others before he was shot and arrested.
France’s chief anti-terrorism prosecutor said the attacker had arrived in Europe on September 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia that is a main landing point for migrants from Africa.
Also on Thursday, a Saudi man stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard at the French consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, prompting France to urge its citizens there to be on ‘high alert.’
Macron, 42, has deployed thousands of soldiers to protect important sites such as places of worship and schools, and the country’s security alert is at its highest level.