10/29/2020, 10.19
FRANCE - TURKEY - ISLAM
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French imams condemn Erdogan's 'political machinations'

Tensions build between Paris and Ankara. Charlie Hebdo publishes a new cartoon targeting Erdogan. The Turkish president presents himself as defender of the Muslims of France. Hocine Drouiche: problems can be solved with dialogue, no need for winds to fan the flames from "Turkey". In Indonesia the Nahdlatul Ulama calls for calm, while criticizing "extreme secularism".

Paris (AsiaNews) - Problems can only be resolved "through dialogue, not political machinations", in a historical moment in which "there are winds that fan the flames" from abroad, in particular "from Turkey".

With a note harsh in tone and dry in content on behalf of the French imams, Hocine Drouiche the imam of Nîmes condemns the escalation of tension between Paris and Ankara, underlining that these clashes "are of no benefit to France or the future of Muslims" in the country and in Europe.

"We imams of France - underlines the vice-president of the Conference of transalpine imams and already a candidate to lead the Great Mosque of Paris - say that no one, not even [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan can speak on our behalf".

The words of the Muslim religious leader come in a context of maximum tension between Turkey and France, triggered by the murder of the French professor Samuel Paty at the hands of an Islamic radical, in response to the decision to show Charlie Hebdo's cartoons on Muhammad.

French President Emmanuel Macron claims the right to freedom of thought, his Turkish counterpart (for some time) has presented himself as a defender of the values ​​and sacredness of Islam. The conflict was fuelled by the publication yesterday of the Parisian magazine of a new - and satirical - cartoon on Erdogan himself.

Intervening in the controversy, the imam of Nîmes emphasizes that "there are long pending issues" even with the French government, but "moving from misunderstandings and debate to the risk of open conflict" is a short step, even and above all if there are those who, from the outside, fan the flames of discontent, fuelling the tension.

"But we are independent - concludes the French Muslim leader and we have established a" constructive dialogue," with the government and the President of the Republic himself “we have been discussing our problems" for years and "we are determined to resolve them through dialogue ".

Meanwhile, the tension triggered by the clash between Erdogan and Macron extends to the Arab world and to various Muslim-majority nations. If the appeal of the Turkish president to boycott French products has been warmly received among the Gulf nations, protests from radical groups and extremist movements begin to mount in Indonesia [the most populous Muslim country in the world].

Among the realities that are pressing for the head-on clash is the Alumni 212 movement, a group that promoted massive demonstrations in 2016 against the then (Christian) governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Today its leaders call for a boycott of French products and justify any Muslim who wants to strike French citizens in response to the offense.

The Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) leader Yahya Staquf replied immediately. Although criticizing French "extreme secularism", he does not justify the violence. "Humiliating Muhammad's honour - says the NU secretary general - is considered an insult to Islam. However, responding to the insult by killing is a brutal act that could trigger an instability that risks spiralling out of control ". This is why it is necessary to remain calm and "not be overwhelmed by emotions", because the goal is to find "a harmonious way" for "global integration".

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