(Paris) Emmanuel Macron said he understood that Muslims could be “shocked” by the cartoons of Muhammad but that they did not justify the violence, in an interview with Al-Jazeera channel to be broadcast on Saturday.
“I understand that one can be shocked by cartoons, but I will never accept that one can justify violence. Our freedoms, our rights, I consider that it is our vocation to protect them ”, declares the Head of State in an extract from this interview.
The interview is due to be broadcast at 5 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) by the television station, which broadcasts in several languages, including Arabic and English, and has a large audience in countries of the Middle East and Maghreb. .
This is the first interview granted by the president since the start of anti-French demonstrations linked to his statements defending the right to cartoon in the name of freedom of expression, after the beheading two weeks ago of teacher Samuel Paty who had shown his class these drawings.
In this “long” interview, Emmanuel Macron seeks to “explain his vision in a peaceful manner”, indicates his entourage. With the desire to demonstrate that “his words on the fight against separatism are distorted and those on caricatures are often caricatured.”
It is a question of “countering the untruths, rather than letting them prosper and re-explaining the foundations of the French republican model”, specifies this source.
In the interview, Emmanuel Macron underlines in particular, according to Al-Jazeera, that the cartoons were not published by the government, but by free and independent newspapers.
On October 22, during the national tribute to Samuel Paty, Emmanuel Macron declared: “We will defend freedom […] and we will promote secularism, we will not give up caricatures, drawings, even if others are retreating ”.
This commitment has triggered a flood of criticism in many Muslim-majority countries, where calls to boycott French products and to demonstrate have been launched.
On Friday, tens of thousands of people protested again in Bangladesh, Pakistan and, to a lesser extent, the Middle East, Maghreb and Mali.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called on French nationals living abroad to be cautious, saying the threat to French interests was “everywhere”.