Restriction on freedom of expression urged as UK activist reminds Macron of French law

French president has limited knowledge about freedom of expression and human rights, says Aman Project chief


News Desk December 10, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference on the political situation in Lebanon in Paris, France September 27, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Aman Project chairperson Nabeela Ali wrote a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron, demanding on behalf of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom to put restrictions on any type of drawing, publication and exhibition that may depict God, any prophet, any person, community, belief or colour and set the limits for the sake of protecting privacy, dignity, fame and beliefs with no exemptions.

"We the people living in the UK whole-heartedly condemn the recent and previous terrorist attacks in France, in response to the [blasphemous] caricatures," she wrote in her letter.

Nabeela said that the Muslim community in the UK understands the freedom of speech is considered an “essential freedom” in France which is protected by the 1789 Declaration of Human and Civic Rights, incorporated by reference into the French constitution.

She added that the freedom of speech is also protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, to which France is a party to it.

"In your recent letter to the Financial Times you [Macron] said: 'If France is primarily attacked by Islamist terrorists, it is because it embodies the freedom of expression, the right to believe or not to believe, a certain art of living as well'.”

The Aman Project chief criticised the French president's recent remarks, saying that they were contrary to the freedom of expression and human rights that were given to the people under the Article 4 & Article 11 of the French Declaration of Human and Civil Rights, the Human Rights Act of the European Convention on Human Rights and the French law on the freedom of the press.

"Just in case if you wanted to review bratty statement not because it has harmed two billion people around the world but to protect the dignity of the French constitution and the French president for the sake of your knowledge, history and French people," she wrote.

Nabeela also stated that the French president has limited knowledge about the freedom of expression and human rights laid down in the constitution or he has a prejudice against a community because the 1789 Declaration of Human and Civic Rights defines freedom in general as “being able to do anything that does not harm others”.

She added that the freedom of speech in France is limited by the right to privacy, the presumption of innocence, the right to “human dignity,” and by rules prohibiting defamation and insult.

She also criticised Macron for protecting the right to publish offensive and provoking cartoons contrary to what is written in French law.

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