In yet another verbal onslaught on the Muslim world, French President Emmanuel Macron has labeled a recent deadly knife attack in the country as an indication of what he claimed “Islamist terrorism” and said France would “never give in” to such radical moves.
In a violent attack on Friday, a female police officer was killed by a knife-wielding assailant at a police station in Rambouillet, a wealthy commuter town 60 kilometers from the French capital, Paris.
Police sources said the 49-year-old victim died of her wounds after being stabbed in the throat twice during the assault and that the attacker, a 36-year-old Tunisian man who was unknown to security services, was fatally wounded when another officer opened fire on him at the station.
France's national anti-terrorism prosecutors opened a terror investigation into the murder and a judicial source said three people from the suspect's "entourage" had been detained later in the day.
Police said the assailant arrived in France illegally in 2009 but had since obtained residency papers.
Sources close to the investigation said about 30 police officers, wearing balaclavas, raided the suspect's home in Rambouillet and that police had also searched the home of the person who sheltered the Tunisian when he first arrived in France.
Reacting to the deadly incident, Macron vowed on Twitter that "in our fight against Islamist terrorism, we will never give in," but provided no proof to show that the Tunisian attacker had terrorist motives or whether he was even a Muslim.
Elle était policière. Stéphanie a été tuée dans son commissariat de Rambouillet, sur les terres déjà meurtries des Yvelines. La Nation est aux côtés de sa famille, de ses collègues et des forces de l’ordre. Du combat engagé contre le terrorisme islamiste, nous ne céderons rien.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 23, 2021
'France turning Islamophobic at heart'
Chairman of the London-Based Islamic Human Rights Commission Massoud Shadjareh said in an interview with Press TV on Friday that the French president sought to use Islamophobia to attract the votes of Far-Rights in the country’s upcoming election.
“One of the main reasons that these statement are being made is because he needs to use the race card and the Islamophobic card, and because the level of Islamophobia in France is increasing, his opponents are Extreme-Right and he needs to attract votes away from the Extreme-Right to his party and himself,” Shadjareh said.
“France is now speeding towards creating a society which at the heart of it is Islamophobic,” he added.
The Friday's attack came less than two weeks after the beheading by a Chechen extremist of a teacher who showed offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammed to his pupils in a school near Paris.
Following the terrorist attacks, the French government introduced a bill that allowed for a crackdown on groups and individuals suspected of extremism and undermining the country’s secular principles.
The bill, together with Macron’s insulting remarks against the religion of Islam and its followers, drew widespread criticism both at home and worldwide.
The debate around the bill was reignited early this month after French lawmakers added an amendment that would even prohibit minors from wearing Muslim headscarves in public.