France’s foreign ministry has demanded Pakistan authorities withdraw comments made by the latter’s human rights minister that President Emmanuel Macron was treating Muslims like Nazis had treated Jews in World War 2.
The comments posted on Twitter by Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Saturday came as part of a clash between Pakistan and France over the publication of images of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by a French magazine. The images have sparked anger and protests in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan.
“Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews — Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won’t) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification,” Mazari said in a tweet linking to an online article. That article now includes a clarification, saying the ID numbers will not just be for Muslim children, as it had previously reported, but for all children.
In a follow-up tweet on Sunday, Mazari doubled down on her claims following a condemnation by France’s foreign ministry late on Saturday.
“These hateful words are blatant lies, imbued with an ideology of hatred and violence. Such slander is unworthy of this level of responsibility. We reject them with the greatest firmness,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said, adding that Paris had informed the Pakistan embassy of its strong condemnation of the comments.
“Pakistan must rectify these remarks and return to the path of a dialogue based on respect.”
Macron under fire
French President Emmanuel Macron is facing renewed criticism in the Muslim world and abroad over his latest plans to tackle what he calls radical Islam, including asking Muslim leaders in his country to agree to a “charter of republican values”.
Politicians and activists likened the new measures proposed by the French government, especially a move towards giving children an “identification number” to ensure they are attending school, with policies employed by the Nazis against the Jews.
Pakistan’s parliament at the end of October passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris, accusing Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims.
The French president sparked protests across the Muslim world after last month’s murder of teacher Samuel Paty — who had shown his class a blasphemous sketch of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) — by saying France would never renounce its laws permitting blasphemous caricatures.
He also pledged a crackdown against what he called “Islamist separatism” to defend France’s secular values and argued that controversial cartoons should be defended on free speech grounds.