Shi’ites burn French flag in Abuja over Macron’s ‘controversial’ comment

Some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, on Tuesday, set ablaze French flag in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, over President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on cartoons of Prophet Mohammed published in a magazine.

Many Muslims have described the cartoons as “blasphemous.”

Macron, in an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday, said he understands the sentiments expressed by Muslims over the cartoons but he has a duty to protect rights – such as freedom of expression – of citizens in his country.

The French President said, “You must understand my role right now, it’s to do two things; to promote calm and also to protect these rights.

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“I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw. I think that the reactions came as a result of lies and distortions of my words because people understood that I supported these cartoons.”

But the president’s comment sparked anti-French protests in the Muslim world.

During their march in the FCT, the IMN members burnt the flag of France while chanting songs.

IMN member, Sidi Munir, in a statement distributed during the protest, described the publication as an attack on Muslims.

It read, “We set France flag on fire in a reaction to the attack on Islam and Muslims by the President of France Emmanuel Macron since the heinous crime of publishing cartoons of the Prophet by the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

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“Hence we applaud the current campaign across Muslim and all lovers of peace and humanity.”

The IMN protest caused panic around Wuse market where it also ended.

Some traders hurriedly locked up their shops in panic for fear of an outbreak of violence.

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