Emmanuel Macron has today warned some French districts are ‘terrorist breeding grounds’ where ‘small girls wear full veil and are raised to hate our values’.
The head of state painted a picture of lawless suburbs in which abused infants are kept away from children of the opposite sex in an open letter defending his stance against Islamic extremists.
Macron also said there are ‘hundreds of radicalised individuals’ living in France who could strike with a knife at any moment.
His comments come after a spate of terror attacks in France, including the murders of teacher Samuel Paty on October 16 and three others in Nice on October 29.
Emmanuel Macron has today warned some French districts are ‘terrorist breeding grounds’ in an open letter defending his stance against Islamic extremists. Pictured: Macron speaks to media after signing a condolence book for victims of the Vienna attack in Paris on Tuesday
The President said ‘small girls wear full veil and are raised to hate our values’ in some areas of France. Pictured: A woman wearing a niqab, the islamic full veil, walks in a street of Lyon, eastern France
In a letter to the Financial Times, Macron wrote: ‘Since 2015 it has become clear, and I said this even before I became president, that there are breeding grounds for terrorists in France.
‘If you do not believe me, read the social media postings of hatred shared in the name of a distorted Islam that resulted in Paty’s death.
‘Visit the districts where small girls aged three or four are wearing a full veil, separated from boys, and, from a very young age, separated from the rest of society, raised in hatred of France’s values.’
The full veil has been banned in France since 2011, following controversial legislation dubbed ‘the burka ban’.
Macron wrote the letter in response to a column written in the FT by a Muslim journalist accusing him of spreading hatred against Muslims, which has since been taken down due to ‘factual inaccuracies’.
He said France is fighting against ‘designs of hatred and death that threaten its children — never against Islam’.
Macron wrote: ‘I will not allow anybody to claim that France, or its government, is fostering racism against Muslims.’
The President said France has every right as a sovereign nation to oppose ‘deception, fanaticism, [and] violent extremism’.
Protesters burn an effigy depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration in Kolkata, India, on November 4
Muslims protest against the comments made by Macron regarding caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in Kolkata
He added the country must remain united against the terrorists ‘who want to break us’.
Macron said France ‘knows what it owes to the Islamic civilisation’ and the country’s ‘Muslim leaders speak out when the worst happens’.
France has a Muslim community of some five million – the largest in western Europe, and many with roots in former colonies such as Algeria.
Some have complained of increased racism and Islamophobia being aimed against them by politicians including Macron.
Emmanuel Macron (pictured on October 2) described Islam as ‘a religion that is in crisis all over the world’ as he unveiled a proposal to battle Islamic radicalism which had created a ‘parallel society’ living outside of French values
The President announced measures aimed at fighting ‘Islamist separatism’ including stricter government control of schools and other institutions serving Muslims on October 2.
During a speech, he said Islam was ‘in crisis’ globally, and he has also pledged that France will continue to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
This has led to demonstrations across the Arab and Muslim world for the past two weeks, with thousands calling for a boycott of French products.
In Kolkata, India, thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday to express their outrage, and burned a model depicting the French President.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh, Muslims rallied and called for a boycott of French goods whilst condemning Macron for his remarks defending the controversial cartoons.