The French foreign ministry summoned the envoy from Pakistan to protest against claims by President Arif Alvi that a French bill cracking down on radical Islam stigmatized Muslims.
Addressing a conference on religion on Saturday, Mr Alvi said: “When you see laws are changed in favor of a majority to isolate a minority, it is a dangerous precedent.”
Referring specifically to legislation drafted after a French teacher was beheaded by a radical Islamist for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Mr. Alvi said: “When you insult the Prophet, you insult all Muslims.
“I urge French political leaders not to enshrine these attitudes in law … You have to bring people together – not to mark a religion in a certain way and create disagreement among the people or create prejudice.”
The French Foreign Ministry said Monday evening that it had called the Pakistani charge d’affaires to mark “our surprise and our disapproval (at the words of Mr. Alvi), given that the bill contains nothing discriminatory”.
“It is guided by the basic principles of freedom of religion and conscience, does not distinguish between different religions and therefore applies equally to all religions,” the ministry said. “Pakistan must understand this and adopt a constructive attitude towards our bilateral relations,” he added.
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