Europe

French MP warns of generalized suspicion of Muslims

Lawmaker urges unity in fight against terrorism, says terrorists aim to divide society, provoke anti-Muslim sentiments

Cindi Cook   | 20.10.2020
French MP warns of generalized suspicion of Muslims

PARIS

French lawmaker Adrien Quatennens has warned against a climate of generalized suspicion toward the country’s Muslims after the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an extremist last Friday in the suburbs of Paris.

Quatennens, an LFI Party member of the parliament hailing from the Nord Department, appeared on franceinfo television Tuesday morning and in his appearance called for unity in the fight against terrorism. He said he believes that terrorists have a goal to divide the French society, and that they aim "a cleavage between Muslims and the rest of the population."

At the same time, Quatennens recognized the peril in making sweeping conclusion on the matter.

"This cleavage must therefore be refused. We must fight against Islamist terrorism, but not have a logic of generalized suspicion," he added.

"When attacks like those in Conflans are committed, millions of our fellow citizens suffer to see that this barbarism is committed in the name of their god."

Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old father who taught history and geography at Bois-d'Aulne College in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the Yvelines north of the capital, was decapitated Friday by Abdoullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin. The suspect was gunned down by police.

The teacher, during one of his classes on freedom of expression, had shown controversial cartoons depicting Muslim Prophet Muhammad, according to the reports.

Muslim leaders across France have condemned the murder, stressing that extremists abuse religion for their goals and their actions cannot be justified through Islam.

Community leaders expressed their concern that the recent attack would again stigmatize French Muslims and increase Islamophobic views.

The murder has given rise to a renewed police crackdown with Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin on Sunday and Monday launching 34 police operations, 80 investigations, and taking dozens of people into custody.

Critics said French President Emmanuel Macron's government may exploit this murder to intensify its controversial, anti-Muslim campaign.

A national tribute to Samuel Paty will take place on Wednesday, at the Sorbonne in Paris's Fifth Arrondissement.

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