“France has freedom of expression”, says Macron after Charlie Hebdo republishes the Prophet’s cartoons

French President Macron reaffirming freedom of expression as a secular value in France

  • post Type / General news
  • Date / 2 September 2020

In January 2015 French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by a group of Islamic terrorists who murdered a total of 17 people. On the eve of the process for the alleged accomplices of the attack, Charlie Hebdo republished the same indicted cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

When asked to comment on this initiative, French President Emmanuel Macron said that it was not his place to pass judgement on this decision “because in France there is freedom of press.” This statement echoes Macron’s words from last February, when he commented on the Affaire Mila by saying that “the French law is clear: we have the right to blasphemy, to criticize and to satirize religion”.

Andrew Copson, President of Humanists International

Interviewed by Euronews, Humanists International’s President Andrew Copson said:

“Everyone in the world should have the right to freedom of religion or belief. As a matter of law, in Europe everyone does have this right. The flipside of this coin is the freedom for everyone else to exercise their particular beliefs, which includes criticizing the beliefs of others.

A Muslim is free to tell me that my beliefs are wrong, that there is a God and that Mohammed is his Prophet. A Christian is equally free to tell me the same in relation to their beliefs. Likewise, I am able to tell them that I think that they are both wrong. Together, as equals, we can have this debate.

What we cannot have is one side of that debate trying to silence the other by law, and that’s what blasphemy laws do. They sanction violence in the pursuit of that. That’s one of the reasons why it’s important for all civilized men and women to stand against blasphemy laws.”

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