Macron: I did not intend to offend Muslims

In conversation with PA chairman, French President says he did not intend to offend Islam and Muslims.

Dalit Halevi ,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday evening spoke on the phone with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and reiterated France's unyielding support for peace in the Middle East based on the two state-solution, the PA’s Wafa news agency reported.

For his part, Abbas reiterated his call for an international peace conference and stressed his readiness to go to negotiations on the basis of United Nations resolution under the auspices of the International Quartet.

Abbas stressed during the telephone conversation the need for everyone to respect religions and religious symbols and not allow anything offensive to Prophet Mohammed and all prophets and religions while condemning all those who do so.

He stressed at the same time his rejection of extremism, violence and terrorism, wherever it came from and in whatever form.

Macron expressed his respect for Islam and the Islamic world, stressing that he did not intend to offend Islam and Muslims and that he distinguished between terrorism and extremism, on one hand, and Islam and the Islamic world, on the other.

The conversation followed recent controversy over Macron’s defense of the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on the grounds of freedom of speech.

Macron's remarks came after the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty near Paris by a suspected jihadist, after Paty had shown his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of expression.

That followed the re-publication of the controversial cartoons in September by the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which itself was targeted by Islamist terrorists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led the charge against France, questioning Macron’s mental state last week. In response, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations, a first in French-Turkish diplomatic relations.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, compared between Holocaust denial and cartoons that insult the Prophet Mohammed.