France’s foreign minister in Egypt after cartoon controversy: Source

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Egypt Sunday hoping to ease tensions following the publishing of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked ire in the Arab world.

A diplomatic source said Le Drian would meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Egypt’s highest Muslim authority.

Le Drian “will pursue the appeasement process” started by President Emmanuel Macron, the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Cairo-based Al-Azhar condemned French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s decision in September to reprint the cartoons.

Read more: Grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar calls for end to anti-Muslim actions

And last month Tayeb denounced remarks by Macron in “Islamist separatism” as “racist” and spreading “hate speech.”

Demonstrations have erupted in several Muslim-majority countries after Macron defended the right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which many saw as insulting and an attack on Islam.

Muslim protesters gather during a demonstration against French President Emmanuel Macron for his comments over the Prophet Mohammed caricatures in Yogyakarta on October 30, 2020. (AFP)

Muslim protesters gather during a demonstration against French President Emmanuel Macron for his comments over the Prophet Mohammed caricatures in Yogyakarta on October 30, 2020. (AFP)

Macron’s remarks came after a suspected extremist decapitated a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb on October 16, after he showed the cartoons during a lesson on freedom of expression.

Sisi himself had weighed in, saying last month that “to insult the prophets amounts to underestimating the religious beliefs of many people.”

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Last Update: Monday, 09 November 2020 KSA 15:46 - GMT 12:46
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