PARIS — France denounced a tweet by Pakistan’s human rights minister on Saturday, which compared President Emmanuel Macron’s treatment of Muslims to the way Jews were treated by Nazis in World War II.
As tensions continue to simmer between the European nation and the Islamic world, Shireen Mazari, a former journalist and an active member of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s team, wrote that “Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews.”
She added: “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.”
Underneath her post, she shared an article which claimed Muslim children would be singled out by a new French bill that would give them an identification number to ensure they are attending school, part of the country’s wide-ranging effort to prevent radicalization of young people. The legislation was proposed because some families do not send their children to school in France.
If introduced however, the bill would apply to all French children.
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French interior minister Gerald Darmanin defended the plan earlier this week in an interview to French newspaper Le Figaro. “We must save these children from the clutches of the Islamists,” he said.
Mazari’s tweet was condemned by France’s Foreign Ministry, which said in a statement Saturday that the minister spoke in “deeply shocking and insulting terms” of Macron and the whole of France.
“These hateful words are blatant lies, imbued with an ideology of hatred and violence,” it said. “Such slander is unworthy of this level of responsibility. We reject them with the greatest firmness.”
Mazari later deleted the tweet.
Taking to Twitter again on Sunday, she wrote that she had been contacted by the French envoy to Pakistan, who sent her a message saying that the article she had shared along with her comment has been corrected, so she decided to remove her tweet.
A wave of protests swept through Pakistan and a number of other predominantly Muslim countries over Macron’s stance following last month’s religiously-motivated attacks which saw a a teacher beheaded in the street in Paris and three people killed at a church in Nice.
Some burned effigies of the French president, while others cried “death to France” and called for a boycott of French products.
The protests came after Macron vowed to fight “Islamist separatism,” which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.
His comments were also condemned by a number of Muslim political leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who said last month that Macron had “attacked Islam,” and “hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe and across the world.”
Nancy Ing reported from Paris, Mushtaq Yusufzai from Peshawar and Yuliya Talmazan from London.
Reuters contributed to this report.