Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
French President Emmanuel Macron has waded into the controversy surrounding Mila, the French student who hit the headlines after saying that Islam was a “sh*t” religion.
Emmanuel Macron backed the high-school student up saying: “We all deliberately chose to forget that Mila is a teenager.”
He added that “French citizens, including Mila, have the right to blaspheme.”
In the interview with the Dauphin Libere newspaper, the French president also said: “We, therefore, owe her protection at school, in her daily life, and while travelling. The State has assumed its responsibilities.”
According to the president, children must be better protected against new forms of online hatred and harassment.
He said: “I separate this imperative from the question on criticism of religions. The law is clear: we have the right to blasphemy, to criticise, to caricature religions”
He added: “The republican order is not moral order.”
He clarified: “What is prohibited is the call to hatred, the attack on dignity.”
Mila’s rant in a video broadcast live online on Instagram led to her being targeted with a torrent of abuse. In a row with a Muslim man whose advances she rebuffed, she had said: “I hate religion. The Koran is… full of hate… Islam is a sh*t religion.”
Richard Malka, her lawyer, told The Times: “It is the left that traditionally defends secularism in this country. It saddens me that it has not done so in this case”, adding that her situation had been ignored by feminist and left-wing groups, which are usually rather quick to defend female victims of verbal and physical violence.
The clip Mila made, and which was widely reposted online, making it go viral, has caused heated debate in France, where the country’s left-wing elite has been accused of cowardice for not speaking out in defence of the teenager, who faced death threats for insulting Islam.
Police reportedly told her that it is too dangerous for her to return to her high school and she is said to be struggling to find another that would be willing to take her in.
The teenager, only identified as Mila, recently appeared on the French TV programme Quotidien, aired by TMC and presented by Yann Barthes, in what the programme advertised was her “unique and only interview”.
She said: “I would like to clarify that… I would like to come back to the subject about the fact that I absolutely do not regret what I said, that it was really what I thought -“
Then Yann Barhes says: “That you don’t regret the right to blaspheme?”
And Mila replies: “Yes, that’s right. The right to blaspheme. And I don’t have to hide for this reason. I don’t have to stop living for this. But I would still like to say that in some way I am a little bit sorry towards the people who I might have hurt who practise their religion in peace, and I never wanted to target human beings. I simply wanted to… blaspheme… I wanted to talk about a religion, and say what I thought about it, and that’s all.”
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