France calls out Pakistani rights minister’s comments ‘fake news’, demands rectification

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France called out Pakistani human rights Minister Shireen Mazari’s comments “fake news”, “slander” and “insulting” and demanded that the minister immediately rectify her comments, where she had claimed that the French president is treating Muslims like how the Nazis used to treat Jews before the World War II.

Shireen Mazari posted an article on Twitter on Saturday, commenting that: “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’s comments drew sharp criticism from the French officials. The French embassy in Pakistani denounced the tweet as “fake news” and “false accusation.”

The French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll criticized Mazari’s comments in a statement, calling them as “despicable words” and “blatant lies”, “loaded with the ideology of hatred and violence.”

“Such slanderous comments are disgraceful at such level of responsibility. We strongly reject them.”

The statement went on to say that the Foreign Office has informed the Pakistani embassy in Paris of its condemnation. “Pakistan must rectify this statement”, the statement concluded.

In a follow-up tweet on Sunday, Mazari confirmed that she has deleted her former tweet after being informed by the French envoy to Pakistan that the article she had quoted has been modified.

The ambassador said that the article had misinformed its audience by saying that the ID numbers would be exclusively for Muslim children. The measures in the bill will be for all French children, not only for the Muslims.

The spat is just another part of a wider clash between Pakistan and France over the publication of the controversial caricatures of Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The cartoons sparked rage and anger throughout the Muslim world, from Turkey to Indonesia to Pakistan.

Prophet Muhammad is seen by the Muslims as the most revered man in Islam – caricaturing him is strictly forbidden. Contrary to European values, muslims living in Europe have resorted to violence on multiple occasions against such caricatures.

In 2015, two Islamist brothers stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris and killed 12 people, injuring 11 others. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, attributing the controversial caricatures as their motive.

In October this year, a French middle-school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded outside the school by an Islamist, who posted the image of Paty’s severed head on Twitter, saying that severe punishments would follow if France did not alter its conduct. Paty had shown the Charlie Hebdo caricatures in his freedom of speech class to the students.

French President Immanuel Macron came out in support of Paty, attended his funeral and called Islam a “religion in crisis all over the world.” He vowed to fight and crush “Political Islam” in France.

Macron’s comments prompted a backlash from Muslims around the globe. Turkey’s President Erdogan condemned his comments, saying that he needs “treatment on the mental level.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed Macron of promoting Islamophobia and further marginalizing the French Muslims.

Indonesia’s Mahatir Muhammad went on to say that after the incident, Muslims have the right to “kill millions of French people.” Twitter took the tweet down immediately after it was condemned worldwide of promoting violence.

Several Muslims countries boycotted France after Macron’s comments, but France claims that the boycott has caused little or no damage to their economy.

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