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Muslims ‘not persecuted’ in France, says French Muslim Council after Erdogan remarks

Published: Updated:

Muslims are “not persecuted” in France, the French Council of the Muslim Faith said Monday, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged European Union leaders to halt French leader Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-Islam” agenda.

“France is a big country, Muslim citizens are not persecuted, they freely construct their mosques and the freely practice their religion,” said the council, which acts as an official go-between for the state and observant Muslims.

Read more: Macron tweets in Arabic that France ‘will never give in’ amid Prophet cartoon storm

Erdogan called on Monday for Turks never to buy French goods and said Muslims in Europe were subjected to a “lynch campaign” like Jews before World War II and accused some Western leaders of championing Islamophobia, calling them “fascists.”

Erdogan said on Saturday Macron had a problem with Muslims and needed checks on his mental health - a rebuke that caused France to recall its ambassador from Ankara.

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk during a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 5, 2018. (Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk during a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 5, 2018. (Reuters)

Macron has pledged to fight “Islamist separatism,” saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France.

The country has since been shaken by the beheading of a teacher by an extremist, avenging the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression.

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