France demands Pakistan rectify 'blatant lies' on Macron's treatment of Muslims

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France has called on Pakistani authorities “to rectify” the “blatant lies” of a Pakistani minister who compared President Emmanuel Macron’s treatment of Muslims to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in World War II.

Pakistan’s minister for human rights, Shireen Mazari, tweeted Saturday that 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,” linking to an article by the media organization The Muslim Vibe.

The minister’s accusations came amid an ongoing clash between France and some Muslim countries over the French magazine Charlie Hedbo’s re-publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Several countries, including Pakistan, have also taken issue with France’s staunch defense of secularism and the right to blaspheme following the beheading last month of a teacher who had shown cartoons of Muhammad in his classroom.

“These despicable words are blatant lies, loaded with an ideology of hatred and violence,” a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry said Saturday in response to the Pakistani minister’s tweet. “Such slanderous comments are disgraceful at such level of responsibility” and are “deeply shocking and insulting,” they said. “Pakistan must rectify these remarks and return to the path of a dialogue based on respect.”

The French embassy in Pakistan on Saturday also flagged the minister’s tweet as “fake news and false accusations.”

As part of Macron’s push to clamp down on radical Islam, the government has proposed giving all children an identification number to be used to ensure they are attending school. The measure, part of a proposed “charter of republican values,” would apply to all children, not only Muslim children, as Mazari claimed.

Mazari doubled down on her comments on Sunday, but later deleted her original tweet, saying that “as the article I had cited has been corrected by the relevant publication, I have also deleted my tweet on the same.”

According to the editor’s note on the article by The Muslime Vibe, which has since been corrected, “an earlier version” of the article “incorrectly state that ID Numbers would be exclusively for Muslims children in France,” whereas the proposed bill would apply to “all children.”

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