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I did not apologize to French President, clarifies Shireen Mazari

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has said that she did not apologize to the French President. She also questioned that “France expects us to respect freedom of expression, so where did the freedom of expression go in Macron’s turn?” Read the detailed story here.

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Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari has said that she stands by her stance against the French President. She has stuck to her principled position. She says she has not and will not apologize to France for her statement regarding Emmanuel Macron.

In an interview with an Urdu website, Mazari said that the West was acting hypocritically and arrogantly in the name of freedom of expression. She felt insulted on the tweet about the French President who insulted the religion, Islam.

“France expects us to respect freedom of expression, so where did the freedom of expression go in Macron’s turn?” Mazari was quoted as saying. She informed that when the source where she read the news apologized to her, she deleted her tweet.

“There is no reason to apologize. I read the news and gave my analysis. When the news came back, I deleted the tweet, saying that France had accepted the apology.” “I want to make it clear that I have neither apologized nor intended to do so,” she said.

Notably, the Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari compared the attitude of French President Macron towards Muslims as the treatment to that of Nazi Jews.

“French President Macron is treating Muslims in the same way that the Nazis treated Jews. In France, it has been decided to give identification numbers to Muslim children, just like the Nazis,” Mazari was quoted as saying in a tweet. In Germany, Jews were forced to wear a yellow star on their clothing for identification.

A day earlier, taking to its official Twitter account, the French Embassy thanked Mazari and wrote that “freedom of expression and debates are essential in democracies, based on verified and accurate facts.”

The Ministry had earlier asked Pakistan to rectify a comment made by Mazari in which she likened French President Emmanuel Macron to Nazis from the Second World War.

In a statement issued by the French Embassy in Pakistan, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll said that on November 21, a member of the Pakistani Cabinet “expressed views through social media, in terms that are deeply shocking and insulting for the President of the Republic and for our country.”

What exactly has happened in France?

In France, tensions over Islam, secularism, and freedom of speech (right to offend) have garnered the attention of scholars and global civil society. As three people were stabbed to death at a church in the French city of Nice, the country raised its national terror alert guidance to its highest “emergency” level, and up to 4,000 military personnel were deployed to boost security at schools, churches, and other places of worship. Other security measures were also taken.

Notably, Macron has sparked outrage across the Muslim world by accusing French Muslims of “separatism” and describing Islam as “a religion in crisis all over the world”.

The matter escalated after Macron said his country would not “renounce the caricatures” of Prophet Muhammad in the wake of the killing of a French teacher who showed them to his class.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Macron, saying the French leader needed “mental checks” over his attitude towards Islam.

Read More: How can Muslims stop living in history? GVS Exclusive Interview with Prof. Ahmet T. Kuru

Across the Muslim world, some leaders have condemned France and Macron, including Saudi Arabia and Iran; while tens of thousands have attended protests in Bangladesh calling for a boycott of French goods.

Analysts are deliberating over an important question: Can solve France’s unstable and complex relationship with Islam and Muslims. The answer is, scholars believe, no. French society has failed to accept Muslims as its integral part which led to feelings of social and cultural marginalization.  French Muslims are struggling to be recognized as a legitimate part of French society. Prof. Tariq Ramadan, a professor of Islamic thought now imprisoned in France after flimsy rape charges leveled against him, always urged the French establishment, intellectuals, and policymakers to recognize their Muslim population and appreciate diversity. However, political expediency seemed to have crushed common sense in Macron’s France.