Amid rising tensions over the publication of offending cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Archbishop of Toulouse, France, Robert Le Gall, has stressed the need to respect religions, adding that “freedom of expression has limits.”
The Archbishop of Toulouse said that “religions cannot be mocked, (because) we see the results,” referring to the incident where 3 people were killed outside a church in Nice, L’Obs French magazine reported.
The archbishop added: “Sometimes we put fuel on the fire, through Charlie Hebdo cartoons,” adding that “these cartoons are against Muslims. They are also against the Christian religion.”
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Pouring Fuel on the Fire
He also called for stopping publishing and distributing these cartoons in schools in particular. “I think we see the consequences, pouring fuel on the fire … Freedom of expression has limits like all human freedoms.”
He stressed that “it is better to defend the values of the Republic, and for brotherhood.”
He added that it is necessary to defend “the freedom to be together, to talk together, and be brothers together. But not to insult each other.”
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, while giving a lengthy interview to an Arab broadcaster, defended his comments on Islam. He said he understood why it offended people, but said that did not justify violence.
Earlier this month, Macron defended secularism and freedom of expression in France. He also described Islam as a religion in crisis, then went on to double down on this after the killing of a French high school teacher for displaying comics of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
His comments prompted a wave of protests and criticism from different parts of the Muslim world. #Boycottfranceproducts hashtag trended on Twitter last week amid increasing calls for a boycott of French goods in the Middle East.