India comes out in support of Macron after 'unacceptable personal attacks' over Muhammad cartoons

Mayank Aggarwal
·2-min read
France’s ambassador to India thanked the nation, tweeting that they can 'always count on each other in the fight against terrorism' (EPA)
France’s ambassador to India thanked the nation, tweeting that they can 'always count on each other in the fight against terrorism' (EPA)

India has issued a statement in support of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who is under fire from Arab countries following his statements about the controversial display of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

India’s foreign affairs ministry said that it “strongly deplores the personal attacks in unacceptable language” on Mr Macron and that they are “in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”  

“We also condemn the brutal terrorist attack that took the life of a French teacher in a gruesome manner that has shocked the world,” said the statement.

Earlier this month, French teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was killed by 18-year-old Abdoulakh A, who was later shot dead by the police. Paty was murdered because he showed his students the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.  

Acknowledging India’s support, France’s ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain thanked the nation and tweeted: “France and India can always count on each other in the fight against terrorism.”

The Indian government offered condolences to Mr Paty’s family and “the people of France” while it emphasised that “there is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance.”  

In 2015, following the publishing of cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, 12 people were killed in an attack on its Paris office. A few days after Mr Paty’s death, as a mark of tribute, his portrait and those caricatures were projected onto town halls in two cities, Montpellier and Toulouse, for several hours.

Mr Macron had said that his country will not give up cartoons – a move that has drawn widespread criticism from Arab countries including Morocco, which called it an act of provocation. Â

It was followed by public calls for a boycott of French products from stores in Arab nations, and images on social media showed many stores removing them, even as the French government urged against it.  

Charlie Hebdo has itself published a cartoon mocking Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had also sought a boycott of French products and questioned Mr Macron’s “mental health”. Turkey promised to take legal and diplomatic action.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also criticised Mr Macron, calling his defence of the cartoons “a stupid act”.

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