French President Emmanuel Macron said that he understood Muslims’ feelings about the cartoons offensive to the Prophet, stressing that his government does not stand behind these cartoons.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, Macron spoke of the anger caused by the offensive cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo magazine.
“The caricatures are not a government project, but rather emanating from free and independent newspapers that are not affiliated with the government,” he said. He added that he understood the feelings of Muslims on this issue.
Macron had said earlier that France would not abandon the caricature, while commenting on the case of killing a young man of Chechen origins, a French teacher who showed his students cartoons offensive to the Prophet of Islam and humanity, may God bless him and grant him peace.
Macron’s statement sparked outrage in the Islamic world, especially since it came only days after another statement in which he said that the Islamic religion is experiencing a crisis everywhere.
In the interview to be broadcast later, Macron said, “I think that the reactions were due to lies and distortions of my words and because people understood that I support these cartoons.” He added, “There are people who distort Islam and claim to defend it in the name of this religion.”
Macron said that Muslims are the most affected by the behavior of those who pervert Islam.
Macron’s emphasis that the government does not adopt the offensive cartoons comes amid a growing popular campaign in the Islamic world to boycott French products, and two days after an attack in Nice that left three dead and several wounded.