SINGAPORE, October 30 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Muslims demonstrated in Bangladesh on Friday after murders by a Tunisian migrant in a French church prompted President Emmanuel Macron to defend himself against attacks on his country’s values and freedom of belief.
France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, was engaged in a war against Islamist ideology and more militant attacks were likely, Home Secretary Gerald Damarnin warned.
Protesters marching through the streets of Dhaka, the predominantly Muslim capital of Bangladesh, chanted “Boycott French products” and held up banners calling Macron “the world‘s greatest terrorist”.
“Macron leads Islamophobia,” protester Akramul Haq said. “He does not know the power of Islam. The Muslim world will not let this go in vain. We will stand up and stand in solidarity against him.”
France raised its security alert to the highest level on Thursday after a man armed with a knife shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is the greatest) beheaded a woman in a church and killed two other people before being shot and taken away by the police. will not cede any ground, ”Macron said outside the church in the city of Nice, vowing to deploy thousands of additional soldiers to guard sites such as places of worship and schools.
France had been attacked “for our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have the freedom of belief”, he added.
A judicial source in France said a 47-year-old man was arrested Thursday evening on suspicion of having been in contact with the perpetrator of the attack.
The violence came at a time of growing anger among Muslims over France’s defense of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, and protesters denounced France at street rallies in several Muslim-majority countries.
Several Asian leaders have expressed their support for France after the attacks on Thursday, the prophet’s birthday.
“This is simply the toughest, cowardly and vicious act of barbarism of terrorists and should be condemned in the strongest possible way,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
Morrison had expressed his support for Macron, he told media on Friday.
“We share values. We stand for the same things,” he said.
Morrison also condemned the absurd remarks by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that Muslims have the right to get angry and kill “millions of French people for the massacres of the past”. expression is a right, the call for violence is not, ”US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir said on Twitter in response to Mahathir’s comments.
Mahathir said his comments were taken out of context, while a senior Malaysian government official Abdul Hadi Awang said Macron’s comments could not be justified.
“The French president’s statement exposes his hostility against Islam and its supporters,” said Abdul Hadi, a leader of the Malaysian Islamist party PAS.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed support for Macron’s position and condemned the violence.
“I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France,” Modi said on Twitter Thursday. “India is alongside France in the fight against terrorism.”
Thursday’s attack came less than two weeks after a middle school teacher in a Paris suburb was beheaded by an 18-year-old assailant who was apparently furious that the teacher showed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in class. suffered a series of attacks by Islamist militants, bombings and shootings in 2015 in Paris that killed 130 people in a 2016 bombing in Nice that killed 86 when an activist drove a truck through a crowd by the sea to celebrate July 14.