الخميس , يونيو 11 2020

France 'to protect all religions'



President Hollande

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President Hollande: “Muslims are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance”

French President Francois Hollande has vowed that his country will protect all religions, saying that Muslims are the main victims of fanaticism.

Speaking at the Arab World Institute, he said Islam was compatible with democracy and thanked Arabs for their solidarity over terrorism in Paris.

Three attacks, including on Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket last week, killed 17 people.

Funeral ceremonies for five of the victims will be held later.

Among them are two of Charlie Hebdo’s best known cartoonists, Bernard Verlhac – known as “Tignous” – and Georges Wolinski.

‘Obligation to protect’

Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Hollande said that the French were united in the face of terror.

“French Muslims have the same rights as all other French,” he said. “We have the obligation to protect them.

“The law has to be enforced in a firm way in places of worship like churches, mosques, and synagogues.”

“Anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic acts have to be condemned and punished.”

Mr Hollande said that radical Islam had fed off contradictions, poverty, inequality and conflict, and that “it is Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance”.

On Wednesday he declared Charlie Hebdo magazine “reborn” after a new edition sold out in hours.

Millions more copies of the magazine are being printed because of demand. On the cover, the issue shows the Prophet weeping while holding a sign saying “I am Charlie”, and below the headline “All is forgiven” – an image that has angered some Muslims.

“I am Charlie” emerged as a message of support for both the magazine and free speech following the attacks that started on 7 January.

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How the attacks unfolded (all times GMT)

Map of Paris showing the locations of three deadly attacks in January 2015

  • Wednesday 7 January 10:30 – Two masked gunmen enter Charlie Hebdo offices, killing 11 people, including the magazine’s editor. Shortly after the attack, the gunmen kill a police officer nearby.
  • 11:00 – Police lose track of the men after they abandon their getaway car and hijack another vehicle. They are later identified as brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.
  • Thursday 8 January 08:45 – A lone gunman shoots dead a policewoman and injures a man in the south of Paris. Gunman later identified as Amedy Coulibaly.
  • 10:30 – The Kouachi brothers rob a service station near Villers-Cotterets, in the Aisne region, but disappear again.
  • Friday 9 January 08:30 – Police exchange gunfire with the Kouachi brothers during a car chase on the National 2 highway northeast of Paris.
  • 10:00 – Police surround the brothers at an industrial building in at Dammartin-en-Goele, 35km (22 miles) from Paris.
  • 12:15 – Coulibaly reappears and takes several people hostage at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. Heavily armed police arrive and surround the store.
  • 16:00 – Kouachi brothers come out of the warehouse, firing at police. They are both shot dead.
  • 16:15 – Police storm the kosher supermarket in Paris, killing Coulibaly and rescuing 15 hostages. The bodies of four hostages are recovered.

Three days of terror

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