Israeli Arabs protest French crackdown after beheading

Hundreds outside French ambassador’s house bash President Macron’s objection to the beheading of teacher over Muhammad cartoons.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Hundreds of Arab residents of Jaffa demonstrated outside the home of the French ambassador to Israel Saturday night, protesting French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for freedom of expression in the wake of the grisly beheading of a teacher by an Islamic extremist.

French Ambassador Eric Danon tweeted support for Macron’s comments saying the teacher was beheaded outside a school near Paris “because Islamists want our future.” Danon also hosted a memorial ceremony on Wednesday in Tel Aviv where those present marked a minute of silence for Samuel Paty, the murdered school teacher who had discussed caricatures of Islam’s founder, Mohammed, with his class.

On October 17 police shot dead an 18-year-old Muslim who is suspected of having murdered Paty by cutting his head off as revenge on the teacher for showing images of Mohammed, which Islam prohibits.

In a speech last week, Macron said he would not give up the the right to publish cartoons of Muhammad. The French Embassy in Israel tweeted a video of the state memorial service for Paty, where Macron made his comments, as well as a statement by Danon on the issue.

During the dispersal of the demonstrators in Jaffa, garbage bins were set on fire and a rock was thrown at a bus, Ynet reported, adding that despite a heavy police presence there were no injuries or arrests.

Early Saturday, France and Turkey exchanged angry words after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted Macron for his stance on Islam.

“Macron needs some sort of mental treatment. What else is there to say about a head of state who doesn’t believe in the freedom of religion and behaves this way against the millions of people of different faiths living in his own country?” Erdogan said.

Jaffa demonstrator Amin Bukhari accused Macron of catering to the extreme right-wing in France and failing to respect Islam.

“The Prophet Mohammed is the most sacred thing in Islam and whoever attacks his honor, attacks an entire people,” Bukhari said in comments reported by AFP.

Following the murder, police in France arrested a pro-Hamas activist linked to the beheading.

In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also condemned Macron and France, railing against those who “violate our glorious law.”

I call on French President Emmanuel Macron to stop the policy of insulting and inciting against Islam, to stop attacking … Mohammed, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, and to stop harming the feelings of Muslims worldwide,” Haniyeh said.

A protest was also held in Gaza where demonstrators held placards denouncing France and saying, “We sacrifice ourselves for our messenger of Allah.”