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Pakistani minister says France treating Muslims like Nazis treated Jews

Shireen Mazari later deletes tweet, says she was misled by article that said only Muslim children in France would receive ID numbers

Illustrative: Shiite Muslim women march toward the French Consulate during a rally against French President Emmanuel Macron and the republishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Karachi, Pakistan, Nov. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Illustrative: Shiite Muslim women march toward the French Consulate during a rally against French President Emmanuel Macron and the republishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Karachi, Pakistan, Nov. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

A Pakistani minister compared French President Emmanuel Macron’s behavior toward Muslims to the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust, before withdrawing her comments.

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari tweeted Sunday: “Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews — Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won’t) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification,” with a link to an article on the procedure.

She deleted the tweet, however, when the article was updated to reflect that the proposed policy applied to all French schoolchildren.

“The article I had cited has been corrected by the relevant publication, I have also deleted my tweet on the same,” she wrote on Twitter later on Sunday.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had demanded she retract her comments, according to the Reuters news agency.

Macron has prompted angry protests and calls for boycotts of French products from South Asia to the Mideast. He is accused of spreading anti-Muslim sentiment, notably while eulogizing the teacher who was decapitated near Paris, by defending the French right to caricature Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

Pakistan traders burn burn a representation of the French flag during a protest against the publishing of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad they deem blasphemous, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, October 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

Samuel Paty was beheaded outside his school October 16 by a teenage refugee of Chechen origin for showing the caricatures in a civics class. A young Tunisian man killed later three people inside the basilica in the southern city of Nice, beheading one woman. The series of bloodletting began September 25 when a young Pakistani refugee injured two people outside the former Charlie Hebdo newsroom office in Paris. In January 2015, attackers massacred 12 people there after the paper published caricatures of the prophet. That trial is underway.

While paying tribute to Paty, Macron defended France’s strict brand of secularism and its long tradition of satire.

“We will not give up cartoons,” he vowed.

He reiterated his point in an interview with Le Grand Continent in which he stated that, despite his respect for different cultures, “I am not going to change our laws because they shock elsewhere.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, center, arrives at Notre Dame church in Nice, southern France, October 29, 2020. (Eric Gaillard/Pool via AP)

“The fight of our generation in Europe will be a combat for our freedoms,” Macron said, adding that he believed they were being “overturned.”

Many Muslims see the caricatures as sacrilegious and protests against France have spread in many countries, with tens of thousands of Muslims chanting “Down with France” and “Boycott French Products” and burning effigies of Macron. In Tehran, Iranian authorities put up at least two enormous billboards against France, including one that named Macron “the devil of Paris.”

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