A French high school teacher, Samuel Paty, was brutally murdered by a young, Russian-born Muslim of Chechen descent, Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov. This heinous terrorist attack caused outrage in French society. The murder of Paty was not the country's first such incident. France had also previously suffered Daesh violence and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack. Many leaders, including those from Muslim countries, demonstrated solidarity with France in the aftermath of those acts but Muslim communities and institutions were still put under surveillance and heavy pressure.
People trying to put labels on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s strong reaction to French President Emmanuel Macron’s Islamophobic provocations make plenty of accusations – all part of a broader, ideologically charged campaign to distort the truth. Critics accuse Erdoğan of waging a "culture war" and contributing to the radicalization of Muslims by promoting an atmosphere of violence. Others question why the Turkish president seeks to write a new, anti-Western story.
French President Emmanuel Macron is in a dangerous tailspin. His government not only turned a blind eye to offensive depictions of Prophet Muhammad, an insult against Muslims’ sacred values but projected them on public buildings in the name of free speech.
The latest wave of ultranationalism, xenophobia and anti-Islamism in Europe has been threatening the very essence of modern values and institutions, namely the liberalism and internationalism mainly represented by the EU.