Muslims ‘Not Persecuted’ in France, Says Country’s Muslim Council

People hold placards reading "report racism" (L) and "the women together" as they take part in a demonstration march near the Gare du Nord, in Paris to protest against Islamophobia, on November 10, 2019. (Photo by GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

Somalilandsun: Muslims are “not persecuted” in France, the French Council of the Muslim Faith said Monday, in wake of President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial statements.

“France is a big country, Muslim citizens are not persecuted, they freely construct their mosques and the freely practice their religion,” said the council, which acts as an official go-between for the state and observant Muslims.

Macron has vowed to take the fight to radicals after the October 16 beheading of a history teacher who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed to pupils in a class discussion on free speech.

Muslims 'Not Persecuted' in France, Says Country's Muslim Council

But a backlash against his comments saw protests in Muslim-majority countries over the weekend, with people burning pictures of Macron in Syria and setting fire to French flags in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Read: Calls to boycott French products grow in Muslim world after Macron backs Mohammed cartoons

Boycotts of French goods are under way in supermarkets in Qatar and Kuwait, with further calls to spurn French products in Jordan, Turkey and other states.

The head of the CFCM, Mohammed Moussaoui, urged French Muslims on Monday to “defend the interests” of the nation in the face of the international outcry.

“We know that the promoters of these campaigns say they defend Islam and the Muslims of France, we urge them to be reasonable… all the smear campaigns against France are counterproductive and create division,” he said.

Pakistan traders hold a banner with a defaced picture of French President Emmanuel Macron during a protest against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the French leader chose to encourage anti-Muslim sentiment and deliberately provoke Muslims by encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)