Instagram removes Khamenei’s French account after Nice attack

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (File photo)

Instagram temporarily removed and later restored the French account of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the social media platform on Friday, a day after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice.

A Tunisian man armed with a knife shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two others in a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice on Thursday before being arrested.

A day before the attack, Khamenei had published a message addressed to “young” French people on his numerous social media accounts, including his French Twitter and Instagram accounts, urging them to ask President Emmanuel Macron “why he supports insulting God’s Messenger (Prophet Muhammad) in the name of freedom of expression.”

Macron had defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad last week, saying France “will not give up cartoons.”

His remarks came after a French history teacher who had shown cartoons of Prophet Muhammad during a discussion about free speech was beheaded near Paris earlier this month.

“Does freedom of expression mean insulting, especially a sacred personage? Isn’t this stupid act an insult to the reason of the ppl who elected him?” Khamenei’s message read.

Read more: Former Malaysian leader Mahathir says remarks on French attacks taken out of context

Khamenei, who has publicly referred to the Holocaust as a “myth” in the past, continued: “The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (pbuh) is allowed?”

Instagram removed Khamenei’s French account for a few hours on Friday and later restored it after the post was deleted.

The supreme leader’s other Instagram accounts – including his English, Arabic and Persian accounts where the post has not yet been deleted – have remained unblocked.

Instagram is the only major social media platform that is not banned in Iran.

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Last Update: Friday, 30 October 2020 KSA 17:00 - GMT 14:00
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