Jakarta (ANTARA) - The central executive board of Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization after the Nahdlatul Ulama, has denounced French President Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-Islam” remarks and argument for “free expression of ideas”.

“We regret and are so disappointed with the blasphemous statements made by a leader who has shown intolerance with other people’s faith,” chairman of Muhammadiyah’s central executive board, Dadang Kahmad, told ANTARA here on Monday.

President Macron’s “blasphemous and anti-Islam statements” have confirmed his intolerance for other people who do respect their prophets or religious leaders, Kahmad remarked.

All individuals within pluralistic societies must respect one another and the sacredness of their faiths or religious beliefs despite their ethnic, racial, socio-cultural, and religious differences, he said.

“We respect the feelings of all religious adherents by not mocking and insulting holy figures of any religion,” he added.

Another top Muhammadiyah figure, Anwar Abbas, also denounced Macron saying that he was a typical leader who could create religious hatred and hostility among different adherents in the world, if he failed to change his way of communication.

The French president could also drag international communities into havoc, deep hostility, and endless revenge, he added.

Therefore, Macron is advised to apologize for what he has done, Abbas remarked.

Macron’s remarks following the beheading of Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, for showing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad during a class have sparked controversy over their “Islamophobic” content.

Eighteen-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, who killed Paty on October 16, 2020, was later shot dead by the French police. Anzorov had felt offended by Paty’s “blasphemous” act.

Responding to Paty’s death, Macron was quoted by the BBC as saying: “France will not give up our cartoons.”

Following his death, Paty was bestowed the Légion d'honneur, France's highest honor.

In the aftermath of his murder, cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad, made by Charlie Hebdo, were projected onto public buildings.

Prior to this case, the French satirical weekly magazine has frequently published cartoons that have triggered public ire in several Muslim-populated countries.

Two persons had attacked the offices of the magazine on January 7, 2015 after it published cartoons on Prophet Muhammad, justifying it was in accordance with the freedom of speech and expression. The attack had left 12 people dead and 11 injured. (INE)

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Translator: Anom P, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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