image Photo: Flash90

Macron-Erdogan row fuels Muslim protest

Israel “unites in shock and condemnation of the atrocious attack” at the Notre-Dame Basilica church in Nice that claimed three lives, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“All civilized peoples must stand in full solidarity with France against the scourge of terrorism,” he said. “There can be no justification or equivocation.”

France is now on its highest terror alert, in the wake of the murders by a knife-wielding Tunisian Muslim in his early twenties who had illegally entered from Italy- where his deportation had been ordered. The Christian victims were a 60-year old woman who suffered deep lacerations akin to a beheading, a 55-year old caretaker who also had deep wounds to the throat and a Brazilian mother of 3 who was a French resident. The violent Islamist assailant shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the 28-minute attack, and even while being treated by medics after being shot and captured by police. He is now reportedly fighting for his life at hospital.

Mayor Christian Estrosi said “Nice – like France, but maybe more than other places in France – today is paying too heavy a price, a victim once more of ‘Islamo-facism.’”

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that his country will never give in to terror.

The latest murders come amid a surge of violent Islamic protest against France – and the West at large; after Macron ordered immediate measures to eradicate Islamist extremism in his nation after the brutal 16 October  beheading by a Muslim terrorist of 47-year-old French teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students cartoons of Mohammad in a civics lesson on freedom of speech. The cartoons first appeared many years ago in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris editorial office was attacked in 2015 by gunmen who killed 12 people. A Danish paper first published the cartoons in 2005 and protests and boycotts on Danish goods swept the Islamic world at that time.

Islam forbids the production of any visual depiction of Mohammad as blasphemous, and perceived ridicule or insult is punishable by death in some Muslim countries.

Macron nevertheless defended the right to free speech in his nation includes publication of the images, and declared that Islamists “will never have” France’s future.

Macron’s response to the teacher’s killing infuriated Muslim countries around the world – most notably Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has demanded that all French goods be boycotted. His sharp criticism that Macron required a mental health check prompted Paris to recall its ambassador from Ankara.  In a fiery speech to his Islamist AK Party, the Turkish leader claimed that Western countries attacking Islam want to “relaunch the Crusades” and that standing against attacks on the Prophet Mohammad is “an issue of honor for us.”

Thousands of Muslims poured out of mosques onto the streets to join anti-France protests after Friday prayer services today.

Palestinian Islamic Supreme Council Head Sheikh Ikrima Sabri called for a “Day of Rage” against “attempts to harm” the Prophet Mohammed. Palestinians burned French flags and destroyed photographs of Macron at several protests in the West Bank. The Islamist Hamas terror group that controls Gaza issued a statement warning of unspecified “consequences,” insisting that “insulting religions and prophets is not a matter of freedom of expression, but rather promotes a culture of hatred.” The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in the Strip threatened that offending Islam and its Prophet crossed a “red line” which would “not be tolerated.”

Tens of thousands of Muslims marched through the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where they chanted “Boycott French products” and carried banners calling Macron “the world’s biggest terrorist.” Protestor Akramul Haq charged that Macron “doesn’t know the power of Islam. The Muslim world will not let this go in vain. We’ll rise and stand in solidarity against him.”

At least 2,000 worshippers led by Islamic parties in Lahore, Pakistan shouted anti-France slogans, stomped on French flags and shouted support for a boycott of French products. Thousands of others in the eastern city of Multan demanded Pakistan sever diplomatic relations with France as they burned an effigy of Macron.

The leader of Afghanistan’s Islamist Hezb-i-Islami party, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, threated there will be a “third world war and Europe will be responsible” if Macron doesn’t “control the situation,” as his group set the French flag ablaze.

Police in a Muslim-majority district of India’s financial hub Mumbai  today removed around 100 posters showing Macron with a boot on his face and calling him a “demon” that had been pasted on pavements and roads for cars to drive over, in protests said to have been organized by the Muslim Raza Academy. While condemning the gruesome murder of the schoolteacher, India’s Ministry of External Affairs released a statement saying, “We strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”

At earlier protests in Diyarbakir, Turkey, Islamist activists chanted, “God damn France, God damn Macron” and “Allahu Akbar,” while holding signs reading in French that “Islamaphobia is a disease.” The French flag was burned in Baghdad by Iraqi protestors chanting, “There is one God, Mohammed is his messenger.”

The French Foreign Ministry has issued travel advisories to French citizens in Indonesia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania, warning that they should exercise caution, and avoid all public gatherings or protests.