By: Kayhan Int’l Staff Writer
The diplomatic row between France and Algeria has opened up old wounds and is spiraling out of control, as President Abdel-Majid Tebboune in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign of Islaomphobia and targeting of Muslim citizens of Algerian stock, has demanded total respect from Paris.
On October 2 Tebboune had recalled the Algerian ambassador from Paris following what he called “inadmissible” comments by Macron that are reminiscent of France’s 132-year colonial rule and the genocide it had committed in Algeria.
He also referred to the historic Ketchaoua Mosque in Algiers, which the French had destroyed in the 19th century and turned into a church after killing thousands of Muslims inside the mosque.
The Ketchaoua Mosque was built in the 17th century during the Ottoman rule, and following Algeria’s independence, the French church was demolished and the mosque was rebuilt by Turkish architects on the original Ottoman model. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Algerians regard the historic mosque as a memorial of their oppression during French rule that had resulted in the killing of at least 10 million Algerian Muslims by the colonialists.
The hard-fought struggle for independence which triumphed in July 1962 saved Algeria from becoming a permanent colony of France, which now under Macron has shamelessly adopted an anti-Islamic attitude.
His current campaign of Islamophobia has angered the Muslim world and coincides in the next few days with the anniversary of the October 17 massacre of Muslims in Paris that was carried out in 1961, while the war of independence was raging in Algeria.
When Muslims took to the streets of Paris in 1961 to protest the crimes of the French government, the response from the police was brutal. Hundreds were beaten to death and their bodies were thrown into the River Seine. The death toll, estimated to be around 500, continues to be censored by the successive regimes in Paris and ignored by the French media.
Even today, Muslims in France, despite numbering over six million, are subjected to negative media scrutiny, with state institutions right up to the president’s office being used to target Islam.
French racism towards its Muslim citizens is likened to the mistreatment by the US administrations of Black Americans citizens.
As analysts point out, while the Black Lives Matter campaign has resonated in France, Macron and his regime are blind to their own appalling treatment of Muslims.
Black Americans have gone through slavery and segregation; French Muslims have faced colonization and slavery, and now face overt, institutional racism.
In view of these facts, it is time for Muslim countries to adopt a unanimous stance against the anti-Islamic policies of the French regime in order to pressure it to respect the rights of French Muslim citizens, as well as stop Macron from trying to interfere in the internal affairs of what were once its former colonies.