Responding to the beheading of a school teacher by an Islamist in Paris, French ambassador to Sweden Etienne de Gonneville told broadcaster SVT, “France is a Muslim country.”
Samuel Paty was decapitated by an 18-year-old Chechen jihadist in revenge for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils in a class on free speech.
The country responded with mass protest marches in major cities and President Emmanuel Macron vowed to protect freedom of expression in honor of the victim.
However, Macron’s vow to take the fight to Islamists has caused uproar in many Muslim countries, notably Turkey, who have effectively sided with jihadism by announcing boycotts on French products.
Now France’s ambassador to Sweden has himself appeared to capitulate to Islamists by declaring, “France is a Muslim country.”
Etienne de Gonneville told Sweden’s national broadcaster SVT, “First, France is a Muslim country. Islam is the second-largest religion in France. We have anywhere between 4 and 8 million French citizens who have a Muslim heritage.”
The ambassador then claimed that “al-Qaeda propaganda” and not “Islam” was to blame for Paty’s murder, despite the fact that the local Muslim community had incited retribution against the teacher for showing the cartoons.
“The media must know how to address the issue of Islamic terrorism and not fall into the trap of that idea that it would supposedly offend Islam. Islam is very diverse,” said de Gonneville.
“Those who we hear now are speaking for these radical Islamist outfits. We should not give them more weight than they have. They are a tiny minority.”
As we highlighted yesterday, following the beheading of Paty, 79% of French people believe Islamism has “declared war” on their country.
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PHOTO: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/Getty Images